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Building Blocks of a Great Novel with Dianne Drake

MWW announces its the newest MWW Ongoing course, “The Building Blocks of a Great Novel,” taught by the bestselling author Dianne Drake.  This 6-unit course also includes a manuscript evaluation. Registration is now available!

Dianne says, “The goal of this course is not to teach you HOW to write your novel, but to help you discover all the key elements common to every great novel — elements that will make your novel great, too!”

  • Choosing Your Genre
  • Goal, Motivation & Conflict
  • Defining Your Point of View
  • Finding Your Voice
  • Creating Your Characters
  • Dialogue, Narrative & Exposition

What the Course Includes

  • Instructional sections that you can read on your own time, at your own convenience. This Prezi format is not a live presentation, and new lessons will not “drip” at various intervals during the course. Once you have registered, the entire course will be available to you, to access at any time you wish.
  • Assignments for completion at your own pace–designed to help you put what you learn into action.
  • Q&A time through a private Facebook forum designed especially for this course, plus discussions and handouts
  • AND each student will receive A FREE MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION AT THE END OF THE COURSE. Translated to mean 10 pages of a manuscript critique along with one deep editing pass.

CHOOSE YOUR GENRE: a discussion of what genre is; how to find the genre that works best for you, a reader’s expectation of genre, and much more.

GOAL, MOTIVATION & CONFLICT: the backbone of all great novels. What is GMC? How do you use it? Define it? Why developing your GMC will give you a head start on your novel that many writers skip. Also, how to apply GMC in your work for the best results.

DEFINING A POINT OF VIEW. Every book has one, so do most major characters. POV gives you a perspective of your story that no one else has. It also defines you, as writer, in your story.

FINDING YOUR VOICE. It’s unique. It’s you on the page-the way you present your story and yourself. It’s what your readers will relate to more than anything else, and what your editors expect to be so “you” your work will stand out in the pile. And, it’s what brings readers back to you and your books.

CREATING CHARACTERS. Good stories have good characters, great stories have great characters. This lesson will teach you everything you need to know about your characters, from naming them, to giving them the perfect backstory, to scripting them in a manner that your readers want more of them.

DIALOGUE, NARRATIVE & EXPOSITION. In other words, the whole ball of wax. How your story goes down on paper. Word choices. What resonates with readers and what doesn’t. This is the nitty-gritty about your writing and how to make the most of it so your next book contract will come knocking on your door almost before you’ve completed the current WIP (work in progress).

Looking to prepare for NaNoWriMo?

This six-unit series is for you!

The cost: $149 (includes manuscript critique!) Register HERE.

Join the course’s private Facebook community!

When you register for this course, you will be invited to a private Facebook group created for live interactions and questions.

Says Dianne:

I encourage lots and lots of questions and comments, anything you wish to address. I will also drop several handouts into the files — things I like to share with my students that may not necessarily have a proper place in the class. In addition, I will check in on the Facebook group several times a day, to answer questions, participate in discussions or to simply see how it’s going. If Facebook isn’t your thing, or you wish to discuss something privately, I’ll be happy to keep you caught up on my private email. 

About the Instructor

There wasn’t a time in her life when Dianne wasn’t writing something. The first real try she remembers came when she was aged 6, with a poem titled, “If I Had a Pony.” It was a lame attempt at getting her parents to buy her a pony, which didn’t work, but in that poem Dianne discovered she loved to write. So, she did…through grade school, high school, college school, music school, nursing school, grad school…It was always there. In Dianne’s life, there was always something to write about. Funny thing was, she wasn’t taking the hint. Not even when articles she was writing for professional medical journals were being published.

One day, though, Dianne’s mother died. She was too young. And she also died unfulfilled…full of hopes and dreams she never went after. This was at a time when Dianne was facing a disability that would eventually leave her with some very difficult physical challenges. Still, she didn’t want to end up like her mother, wasting a life of dreams that never had a chance. But, what to do? This is when, what Dianne calls, “The Post Card from God,” arrived. It was an ad for a writing workshop being held in Muncie, Indiana. Midwest Writers Workshop (1993) as it turned out. So, in her hand she had the opportunity to fulfill a dream she’d never really latched on to, but one that had always latched onto her. But, could she write for real? She’d always written, but to be a real writer?

Dianne did go to Muncie that year, totally nervous, but hopeful. And to shorten the story, 6 months later, her first-ever consumer article appeared in  Woman’s Day. From there came hundreds more articles, 9 nonfiction books and the true dream of her heart — 57 (soon to be 61) romance novels for Harlequin Books. Yes, her true writing dream was to be a romance writer.  Was the journey simple? Never. Was it worth it? Always. “The dream was always there. I just had to wake it up. It makes me sad knowing my mother was contented letting her dreams slip away because she missed a life that might have changed many things for her. But in watching her let her dreams pass her by, I discovered my own dream. I always wanted to write because I always wrote. No matter what happened in my life, I wrote about it. Big things, little things…none of it mattered. What did matter, though, was that my dream was always there with me and I was, and am blessed, to have it every day of my life. I was meant to be a writer. It was my dream, and it was my destiny.”

Dianne’s next two books from Harlequin Mills & Boon Medicals will be released simultaneously in January, 2018. Be on the lookout for  Reunited with Her Army Doc and  Healing Her Boss’s Heart — two connected stories about the healing powers of love, home and friendship. Also, keep up with Dianne’s new releases and news on her website at  www.Dianne-Drake.com and her Facebook page DianneDrakeAuthor.

Romance Manuscript Makeover with Dianne Drake

Midwest Writers Workshop has the antidote to a winter that is dragging on forever! Focus on March 22nd, Manuscript Makeover Day at the Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN. We offer three choices of one-day intensive sessions, each one a chance to immerse yourself in polishing your manuscript with hands-on guidance from a professional, award-winning author. This remedy to the winter of 2014 costs just $150, which includes lunch.

We get that the economy is tight, but this is a bargain, spending a day with a author who can help bring your book closer to “sold!”

Drake DianneAuthor Dianne Drake will lead a session Romance Manuscript Makeover and Other Important Publishing Insights and we’re keeping the numbers way low to provide personalized attention. Dianne’s 50+ published books have been translated into many languages around the world. She’s currently under contract for multiple books by three publishers.

How helpful can Dianne be to your writing? We asked Megan Powell, a MWW alum who snagged an agent and released her first novel in urban fantasy with a “little” help from Dianne. Megan thanked Dianne on her debut book, No Peace for the Damned, acknowledgement page.

Megan Powell“In 2009, I submitted the first five pages of my unedited manuscript to Dianne Drake for critique — an opportunity offered through the Midwest Writer’s Workshop,” Megan says. “Dianne didn’t write the same genre as my novel — her abundant success was in romantic fiction while my novel was urban fantasy — but as another fiction author, I’d hoped to gain some helpful insight.

“In Dianne’s 15-minute critique session, I was given instruction that strengthened the voice of my main character in ways I hadn’t even considered. She pointed out subtle inconsistencies in my writing and unnecessary, repetitive descriptions that, once applied to my complete manuscript, made it query ready. Even more, Dianne introduced me to one of the workshop’s participating agents who, after querying my manuscript, eventually signed me for representation. Two published novels later, I am still grateful for Dianne’s direction and feedback.”

It took Megan only 15 minutes to learn from Dianne, and we’re offering an entire day — from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Still not convinced? Dianne’s road to writing was full of detours, and she used those side trails to help develop her writing career.

First, Dianne went to college and majored in music –specifically the flute. Next, she earned a degree in the medical field and became a critical care nurse. Then, after being a stay-at-home mom and launching two kids into the world, something happened that changed her direction. Dianne’s mother died, with some of her life’s ambitions untried, and Dianne decided to follow her heart and become a writer. Starting out writing nonfiction, she ultimately developed an amazing career, eventually landing as a romance writer, specializing in medical stories. Maybe her own winding road is why Dianne is so passionate about helping others.

If writing is not your first career–or second or third–Dianne is someone you will relate to, and she welcomes the chance to meet you. She’s happy to let you pick her brilliant writer’s brain.

So, what are you waiting for? Register now. Don’t procrastinate. We need your manuscript pages in time to read them ahead. Deadline is MARCH 1st .

Note: Read more of Dianne’s bio here, where she tells her story in detail. Check her website and follow her on Twitter: @DianneDrake

And, check out Dianne’s latest book, A Child to Heal Their Hearts from Harlequin Mills and Boon Medical Romances, which released in September of last year.

Learn more about MWW alum, urban fantasy author Megan Powell, who found Dianne’s guidance so helpful that she felt prepared to query an agent — and found representation, here: meganpowellbooks.com and Twitter: @meganpwrites.

SESSION DESCRIPTION: 

Romance Manuscript Makeovers and Other Important Publishing Insights with Dianne Drake

Do you know what a trope is?  Or how to arc your book to get the most out of it?  Since all romances seem to fall into a formula, how can you make yours stand out as something different?  These questions and many more will be answered at MWW’s one-day session Romance Manuscript Makeovers and Other Important Publishing Insights.  So, if you want your manuscript critiqued and if you have specific questions about romance that have always bugged you, or maybe you just want to learn what the author of 50 romances knows, this is the place to be.  Please feel free to send your questions to her ahead of time to be assured yours will be answered in class:

DianneDrake@earthlink.net

REGISTER HERE!

SUBMITTING MATERIALS:

For ROMANCE MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVERS with Dianne

Include a one-page synopsis of your book, single-spaced AND the first 10 pages of your manuscript. These manuscript pages should be double-spaced and should be the opening pages of your book (the books can be fiction or nonfiction and don’t have to be completed; can be works in progress).

All submissions should be appropriately labeled (i.e., LEFT CORNER: your name, address, phone, email) and MUST BE RECEIVED by MARCH 1, 2014.

Email synopsis and manuscript pages to:  Jama Kehoe Bigger (MWW), midwestwriters@yahoo.com

ALSO on March 22, we will offer Manuscript Makeovers with children’s author Rebecca Kai Dotlich and a joint session with Dr. Dennis Hensley and Holly Miller. We’ll share more about them in the next E-pistle. (Or read our blog post).

Announcing One-Day Intensive Sessions: March 22, 2014

Spring clean your writing!

Midwest Writers Workshop invites you to “Think Spring!” and join us in one of our most popular offerings: The Manuscript Makeover. These one-day intensive sessions offered at the Ball State University Alumni Center, Muncie, IN on March 22, 2014 (9 am to 3 pm) and will help you to de-clutter and polish your manuscript, guided by some of our most popular faculty: Holly Miller and Dennis Hensley, Dianne Drake, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

In his bestselling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discovered it takes 100,000 hours—or 100,000 words in this case—to master a profession. But as Coach Vince Lombardi would say: Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Getting expert advice about your manuscript can put you light-years ahead of the competition. And we all know how competitive publishing is!

Just 20 participants will be able to attend the session of their choice at a cost of $150 (includes a brown bag lunch so the work continues to flow). So here’s how it works:

1) Register for the mini.

2) Submit the requested number of manuscript pages by MARCH 1, 2014.

3) Come to Muncie, IN on March 22 from 9 am. to 3 p.m.) for personalized instruction and a chance to network with other writers.

Let’s get our writing houses in order this spring! Don’t procrastinate! We really want to review your manuscript pages ahead of time, to provide personalized help.

Choose from these three sessions:

Manuscript Makeover with Holly G. Miller & Dennis E. Hensley

This interactive seminar is designed for those fiction and nonfiction writers who are ready to take a quantum leap forward in enhancing their writing skills. Participants will submit a one-page synopsis and the first 10 pages of a manuscript in progress. The instructors will edit and critique these pages and display them (anonymously) to the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses in the material. Additionally, the instructors will lead the students in writing exercises and offer advice on such topics as enhancing dialogue, learning to self-edit, mastering proofreading, finding the right markets for manuscripts and knowing when and how to go into writing full-time.

Note: Holly and Dennis will not be offering Manuscript Makeover at our summer workshop in July, so catch them while you can!

Romance Manuscript Makeovers and Other Important Publishing Insights with Dianne Drake

Do you know what a trope is?  Or how to arc your book to get the most out of it?  Since all romances seem to fall into a formula, how can you make yours stand out as something different?  These questions and many more will be answered at MWW’s one-day session Romance Manuscript Makeovers and Other Important Publishing Insights.  So, if you want your manuscript critiqued and if you have specific questions about romance that have always bugged you, or maybe you just want to learn what the author of 50 romances knows, this is the place to be.  Please feel free to send your questions to me ahead of time to be assured yours will be answered in class: DianneDrake@earthlink.net

Writing for Children Manuscript Makeover with Rebecca Kai Dotlich

This interactive workshop is designed for those who write for children and are ready to dig in and explore what makes a picture book (or easy reader, or chapter book) work by looking at mentor texts, and specifically structure, language, the elusive show-don’t- tell, character development, and details. Participants will submit two pages or less of a manuscript in progress. The instructor will lightly edit and critique these pages and share (anonymously) with the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses to focus on improving writing skills in this genre for all attending.  There will also be writing exercises and advice offered, with additional time for questions and answers about the writing process.

Meet the Faculty:

Miller-HollyHolly Miller is an editor with The Saturday Evening Post and co-author of Feature & Magazine Writing. She and Dennis Hensley have collaborated on four novels and three nonfiction books. Holly’s byline has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest and TV Guide. She is the author of 14 fiction and nonfiction books. She has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of American Travel Writers and Society of Professional Journalists.

Hensley DennisDennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., is a contributing editor for Writers’ Journal and the author of eight textbooks on writing, including How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It. He has written 51 books, including Millennium Approaches (Avon), Uncommon Sense (Bobbs-Merrill), and Money Wise (Harvest House). He directs the professional writing major at Taylor University. His 3,000 freelance articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Success, People, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Downbeat, among dozens of others.

Drake DianneDianne Drake has written 50+ romance novels. Since 2001, she’s been writing romances for Harlequin, including everything from romantic comedy to sweet romances. Currently, she writes warm, family-oriented stories often set in small towns or foreign countries for Harlequin Mills and Boon Medical Line. Dianne’s first romance novel for Harlequin, The Doctor Dilemma, was published in 2001and was voted a reader top five favorite for that year. She has published extensively in nonfiction as well. MWW alumni Megan Powell found Dianne’s comments so helpful that she named her in the acknowledgements of her debut novel!

Dotlich, RebeccaRebecca Kai Dotlich grew up in the Midwest exploring trails by the creek, reading comic books, making paper dolls and building snowmen. She is a children’s poet and picture book author of titles such as Bella and Bean (an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor), What Is Science? (a Subaru SB&F finalist and Bank Street’s Best Book of the year,) and What Can A Crane Pick Up? (which received a *starred* review from Publisher’s Weekly.)  She gives poetry workshops, visits classrooms across the country, and speaks at conferences, retreats, libraries and schools to teachers, aspiring writers and students of all ages.  Her books have received the Gold Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award as well as an IRA Children’s Choice and her work has been featured on Reading Rainbow and the PBS children’s show Between the Lions.  Rebecca still reads comic books and builds snowmen. Her forthcoming picture book, ALL ABOARD! will be published by Knopf in fall of 2014.

REGISTER HERE! 

SUBMITTING MATERIALS: 

For MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER with Holly & Dennis

For ROMANCE MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVERS with Dianne

Include a one-page synopsis of your book, single-spaced AND the first 10 pages of your manuscript. These manuscript pages should be double-spaced and should be the opening pages of your book (the books can be fiction or nonfiction and don’t have to be completed; can be works in progress).

For WRITING FOR CHILDREN MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER with Rebecca

Include a one or two paragraph synopsis of your book, single-spaced AND 2 pages of your manuscript. These manuscript pages should be double-spaced and should be the opening pages of your book (picture books, easy readers, and chapter books – NO novels).

All submissions should be appropriately labeled (i.e., LEFT CORNER: your name, address, phone, email) and MUST BE RECEIVED by MARCH 1, 2014.

Email synopsis and manuscript pages to:  Jama Kehoe Bigger (MWW), midwestwriters@yahoo.com

 

Reminder: Save the dates for MWW 2014, July 24-26. Best-Selling Author Elizabeth Berg is coming! Check out our faculty. And watch soon for the schedule!

Mini-conference in Brownsburg, Ind.

Get expert help with your writing! Make plans to attend the Midwest Writers’ Mini-conference April 13th at the Brownsburg Public Library, 450 S. Jefferson Street in Brownsburg, where authors will share their writing secrets!

Midwest Writers Workshop will conduct a mini-conference, “How to Ramp Up Your Writing,” Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m.-noon at the Brownsburg Public Library, 450 South Jefferson Street, Brownsburg, Ind.

Three writers will be presenters at the mini-conference, which will include talks about getting published, participation in break-out groups and a panel question-and-answer session.

This 3-hour intensive mini-conference is just $10, and registration is required. Light refreshments will be served.  The mini-conference is a service project of MWW, now in its 40th year.

KathySmith headshotDrake DianneMiller-HollyThe speakers include: Holly Miller, contributing editor for The Saturday Evening Post, a sought-after conference speaker, and co-author of the textbook, Feature & Magazine Writing; Dianne Drake, international best-selling and award-winning author of more than 50 books; Special MWW guest Kate Watterson, suspense author of Frozen. Writing as Emma Wildes, she was named by Booklist as one of the rising stars of historical fiction. Moderator will be Cathy Shouse, workshop coordinator of special events.

Each mini-conference attendee will receive a $20-off voucher for their registration for 2013 Midwest Writers Workshop scheduled at Ball State University July 25-27th.

To register, click here. For additional information: 317-852-3167.