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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.

The Course That Helped Me Write My First Novel

by Gail Werner

gail-werner-photoThree years ago this month, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post from my friend Cathy Day, an English professor at Ball State. It detailed her decision to offer her novel writing class online to anyone wanting to follow along.

Reading this news, I felt my pulse quicken. This is it, Gail, I told myself. This is your sign.

Except, it couldn’t be. Not when I had a 11-month-old son at home, a job at Ball State keeping me busy, and a photography business that was going strong.

I didn’t have time for signs, and yet something in my gut re-enforced what I knew was true: If I let the moment pass, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.

With shaking fingers, I signed up, not knowing it was a move that would forever tilt my creative compass true north.

Over the weeks that followed, I read through the half-dozen books Cathy assigned on her syllabus. I dove into each with a zeal I hadn’t experienced since journalism school. It was intoxicating learning something new again, especially something I was so passionate about—learning how to write a book!

Using the skills I picked up that semester, I went on to finish my first novel. Ever since, I’ve kept going: reading more, writing more, learning more. Today I’ve reached the point where I’ve completed my second novel and am now querying agents, hoping one of them wants to help me publish my work.

Often times when I tell people I’ve written a book, they get a dreamy look in their eyes and admit they want to write one, too. What I always want to say (but haven’t until now) is writing a novel is almost impossible without learning a bit of craft first.

Which is why I’m elated to announce, in partnership with Midwest Writers Workshop and its new MWW Ongoing online courses and webinars, Cathy is offering another introductory novel-writing class this fall!

“It’s Time to Start Your Novel” will span four weeks beginning October 1 and is meant for anyone who’s ever thought, “I think I have a novel inside me.” (Newsflash: If you’re thinking this, it probably means you do.)

The cost is $150 and I promise (from the very bottom of my heart), it’s worth every penny.

What you’re about to learn from Cathy is what’s true of any goal worth pursuing—you’re gonna need time and preparation to tackle it. Consider this class your first step.

Or, as Cathy describes it:

“Think of ‘It’s Time to Start Your Novel’ as a cooking course in which you spend the first class cleaning the kitchen and prepping the ingredients. Think of it as a marathon-running course in which you spend the first class buying a good pair of shoes. Your chances of drafting an entire novel (maybe for National Novel Writing Month?) increase exponentially when you spend some time preparing yourself for the journey ahead.”

All of that makes sense, right? So I’m wrapping up this post hoping this opportunity finds a few brave souls yearning for the same creative challenge I was that afternoon I found Cathy’s Facebook post. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how all of the work and second-guessing would be worth it to chase the creative high I’d experience as a result.

If you have specific questions about the course—which will cover topics like how to develop a writing regimen, along with how to create characters and scenes for your future novel—send them my way. You can also ask about signing up for Midwest Writers Workshop 2017 or, better yet, find out how to become a member of our new MWW Plus to get a 10-percent discount on Cathy’s class along with future webinars and workshops MWW has to offer!

So come on then … take this chance on yourself.

Learn how to fit writing into your life.

If you do, then someday (2017 resolution, anyone?) you can know the joy of holding your first finished novel in your hands the same way I did.