SUMMER 2018 SEMINARS

Our industry and craft-focused seminars are one time, three hour classes. At Writing Workshops Dallas, we care about the craft of writing as much as we care about the business of writing. We know how hard won your work is. Our mission is to get your work in shape and out into the world so that it can find a readership beyond the workshop table or your critique group. We're proud of our talented instructors, all widely published and experts in their field, who have a strong desire to help writers navigate the many paths to seeing their work into the world, from surviving the first draft, to revising, and eventually publishing. We offer a rotating schedule of seminars and are always adding new topics. If you would like to suggest a seminar topic, feel free to use the Contact Page to let us know what you'd like to see on the schedule.

All returning students receive a discount. Our refund policy is simple: If a writer enrolls in one of our seminars and can't make it we will send you the link to the Live Stream along with all seminar materials so that you can watch the seminar at your convenience within 30 days of the seminar date.

SEMINARS

Criminal Minds: The Elements of Crime Writing

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

Whether you’re writing historical fiction or contemporary crime novels, certain craft elements remain the same: an engaging plot, robust, multi-dimensional characters, pacing and building tension with the narrative.  This three-hour class will focus on effective strategies for writing exciting stories in the crime and mystery genre, where the demands for sustained tension and creative and unique narratives are the keys to writing a killer story.   There will be time for short writing exercises, and participants are encouraged to bring their own short stories, or outlines and extracts from their novels-in-progress for discussion of what’s working, and what’s not.

  • Building durable, robust characters that can carry the action
  • The distillation of dialogue, authentic to time and place
  • Narrative pacing
  • Maintaining suspense for your readers
  • Dynamic conflict resolution

Instructor Kathleen Kent’s fourth book, titled The Dime, is an Edgar-nominated contemporary crime novel set in Dallas. The New York Times picked The Dime as one of their “Latest and Greatest” in crime fiction, March 2017.  The second book in the Detective Betty series will be published by Mulholland Books in the spring of 2019.  The Dime has been optioned by 20th Century Fox for a TV series, produced by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves. Ms. Kent is also the author of three bestselling historical novels, The Heretic’s Daughter, The Traitor’s Wife, and The Outcasts.

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • Kathleen Kent Presenter
  • Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

Self-Editing Seminar

How to Self-Edit: 50 Essential Tips for Honing Every Manuscript

Sunday, July 29, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

As featured in D Magazine's "Five Things You Must Do in Dallas," this seminar, led by full-time editor and author Blake Atwood, will delve deep (or is it deeply?) into the challenging and robust (poor word choice) process of self-editing. You will learn specific, practical self-editing tips so you can present your most inrediblest (Are you even trying?) work to an editor, agent, publisher, or audience. You will also learn the differences between developmental editing and copyediting, how to know when you should stop self-editing, how to find and work with an editor, what you can expect to pay for professional editing, and what it’s like to work with an editor. This interactive seminar will help writers of all kinds, from novelists to nonfiction authors to poets to screenwriters. 

As an included bonus, every student will receive a digital copy of Blake Atwood’s Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor as well as a digital download of the seminar’s tips.

Instructor Blake Atwood is an author, editor, and ghostwriter who has been traditionally published as a co-writer and has self-published three books, including an audio book and Spanish editions of his first book. He also works with editing clients pursuing both paths. He is the host of the podcast, All Apprentices: Quick Editing Tips.

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • Blake Atwood, Presenter
  • Sunday, July 29, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

How to Build a Wildly Engaged Readership (with joy and less stress)

Build your List, Wow them Well, and Sell your Books

Sunday, August 5, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 5:30PM

Mary DeMuth, multi-published (traditional and indie) novelist and nonfiction author, will give you the tools you need to build a highly engaged, enthusiastic readership. She’s spent the last decade building her tribe, creating viral pass-along content, and selling books as a result. Have you ever felt like you’re shouting your book’s worth to an echo chamber? Are you turned off by the Ned Ryerson’s (the insurance salesman in Groundhog Day) of the publishing world who constantly ask and sell? There is a better, more joyful way to engage your readers. In this seminar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of list building (it’s the less sexy than social media, but it merits the best results), discover how to create personalized content, and you’ll find innovative, non-Ryerson ways to legally gather subscribers. Topics include:

  • How to see marketing as a joyful way to help people
  • Why implementing best practices in email list building and content creation is one of the best ways to sell books
  • What mistakes the majority of authors make when building their tribes
  • Who your audience is, and why culling your list is actually not counterintuitive
  • What competitive advantage authors have in marketing
  • Why learning to master “authentic copywriting” will increase reader engagement

Instructor Mary DeMuth is an international speaker and podcaster, and she’s the novelist and nonfiction author of over thirty-five books, including the latest: The Seven Deadly Friendships (Harvest House Publishers 2018). She loves to help people re-story their lives. She lives in Texas with her husband of 28 years and is the mom to three adult children. Find out more at marydemuth.com.

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • Mary DeMuth, Presenter
  • Sunday, August 5, 2018 - 3:00PM to 5:30PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

Achieving Catharsis

Sunday, August 12, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

Catharsis is defined as a cleansing of emotions.  As a writing theory, it goes as far back as Aristotle’s Poetics.  But it’s actually simple to understand.   You know how sometimes you close the cover of a book or walk out of the theater, and you’ve laughed, you’ve cried, gone through the whole gamut of emotions with a character, and now you feel renewed?  That’s catharsis.  But as a writer, how do you give that experience to a reader?  How does a reader come to feel that they have fought and won and lost alongside or even through the character?  How do you design an ending that is satisfying, even if it is not 100% happy?  We will focus on matching up character arcs with plot events and reversals to achieve catharsis.  This interactive seminar, suitable for fiction writers, screenwriters and memoir writers, will also offer answers to:

  • What is pathos and why does a reader need to experience it to feel catharsis?
  • Why does the reader need to relate to the character on a basic human level to experience catharsis?
  • Why is catharsis easier to achieve if the character has been the underdog throughout the story?
  • What is the emotional color wheel, and why should I “paint” with all the colors?
  • How does the advice to show not tell relate to catharsis?
  • How can I describe internal physical sensation in a way that will put the reader inside my character?
  • How can I use point of view to determine how close people will get to my characters?
  • How can I determine if readers will find my ending unsatisfying?
  • If I’m writing about/fictionalizing real events, how can I shape the arcs so that they are still satisfying?

Instructor Amber Royer's debut Science Fiction novel, Free Chocolate (June 2018), was named one of Barnes & Noble SFF Blog’s 25 Debuts to Watch for in 2018!

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • Amber Royer, Presenter
  • Sunday, August 12, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

That's Easy For You to Say: Writing Effective Dialogue

Sunday, August 19, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

Led by novelist David Eric Tomlinson, author of The Midnight Man (Simon & Schuster, 2017; named a top crime debut of 2017 by BookPeople), this three-hour seminar will teach you how to write effective dialogue. After all, dialogue is the internal combustion engine of an effective plot, generating a feedback loop of action and reaction that can add tension, drama, absurdity, or comic relief to your story. It's also one of the most versatile multi-tools in a writer's arsenal, capable of revealing character, motivation, and backstory, while giving the author an excuse to explore themes or insights that might otherwise try a reader's patience. This seminar will examine how dialogue, done right, can propel your story to new heights.

Instructor David Eric Tomlinson was born and raised in Oklahoma, educated in California, and now lives in Texas. His debut novel The Midnight Man was published by Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster in 2017 and was shortlisted for the PEN Southwest Book Award in fiction. Since then, David has taught fiction seminars at several writing conferences and attended the 2017 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • David Eric Tomlinson, Presenter
  • Sunday, August 19, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

6-Week Special: The Artist's Way Seminar

A Special 6-Week Seminar with Rex McGee

Thursday Nights, August 23, 2018 - September 27, 2018

THE ARTIST’S WAY SEMINAR has been taught to thousands of people looking for creative direction in their lives. People who enjoy visual art, performance art and writing have joined forces and realized that the challenges of creativity are not unique to any particular art form. Successful artists and beginners all face the same challenges. We will use any excuse to keep from living a fulfilled creative life; we surround ourselves with drama and other people who keep our lives chaotic to blur the focus from ourselves and our work. We oversleep, overeat, over-read, watch too much television and talk too much on the phone. We BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK until we can find blame and justify our real fear of actually living a creative life. Our fear of appearing foolish stops us from producing work. Our perfectionist tendencies stop us from starting or finishing a project. The deep desire many of us have to become GREAT artists prevent us from becoming artists at all. Our central fear may be that it is too late and that our talent is gone. We will look for any way to stop the pain... This eight-week workshop examines a variety of highly effective skills and practices designed to ignite passion and capture new ideas. Topics include:

  • THE METHOD OF THE MAGIC. Learn to recognize, nurture and protect your inner artist. You will move beyond pain and creative constriction.
  • LEARN THAT IT IS SAFE TO DREAM. We like to pretend it is hard to follow our heart’s dream. The truth is, it’s difficult to avoid walking through the many creative doors that will open for us. Leap and the net will appear. As we clarify our perceptions, we lose our misconceptions. We arrive at clarity, and clarity creates change.
  • RECOGNIZING POSSIBILITIES. As we gain strength, we free ourselves from our terrible fears of abandonment and we are able to live with a greater degree of spontaneity. We are freed from our constant demand for more and more reassurance, and our fellows are able to love us back without feeling so burdened. You will examine the idea that money worries are the ultimate creative block.
  • IDENTIFYING INSPIRATION. Art is not about thinking something up. It’s the opposite: it’s about getting something down. Instead of reaching for inventions, we learn to listen.
  • PROTECTING YOUR NEWFOUND ARTIST FROM HARM. Blocked artists are not lazy, they’re blocked. Procrastination is not laziness, it’s fear. The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist at all. This week, you will learn tools that involve taking creative risks, and these small risks teach you the courage that it takes to create.
  • AUTONOMY AS AN ARTIST. As an artist, self-respect comes from doing the work. Artists do not need to be rich, only richly supported. We kill parts of ourselves when we fail to nurture the artist within.

NOTE: Students are required to purchase a copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron as the foundational text for this course.

Instructor Rex McGee is a native of North Texas and a protege of the legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder. McGee has sold over 20 scripts for film and television since receiving his BA in Cinema from USC.  He has worked in both Los Angeles and Texas as a screenwriter and journalist, and he has conducted screenwriting and creativity workshops at SMU for the last 19 years. His film credits include Warner Brothers’ Pure Country, starring George Strait, Hallmark’s Where There’s a Will, starring Marion Ross and Keith Carradine, and the IMAX film, Texas: The Big Picture, for the Texas State History Museum in Austin. A member of the Writers Guild of America, West, he has collaborated on his screenplays with directors Jon Amiel, John Putch, Peter Masterson, Robert Mulligan, and Billy Wilder.  He adapted his own original screenplay of Pure Country for the musical stage, which premiered in 2017 at Lyric Stage in Irving, Texas:  purecountrythemusical.com

Fee: $395 or $370 for former/current students

  • Rex McGee, Instructor
  • Enrollment limit: 10 students
  • Thursday Nights, August 23, 2018 - September 27, 2018, 6:30PM - 8:30PM
  • Special 6-Week Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

 Writing Vivid Side Characters

Sunday, August 26, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

You know you need a spectacular protagonist, facing off against an equally strong antagonist.  But what about all your spear carriers, love interests, sidekicks, mentors and henchmen?  They don’t always get much page space, so how can you use what you do give them to make them memorable?  We will focus on creating captivating side characters that add to the plot and earn their space on the page. This interactive seminar, suitable for fiction writers, screenwriters and memoir writers, will also offer answers to:

  • How can basing the way side characters think and act on real people I know help me characterize them without using as much page space?
  • Why should I give the more important side characters a backstory, even if it doesn’t make it onto the page?
  • How can giving side characters distinctive vocabulary lists/syntax help them to stand out?
  • Why should every side character have a distinctive role in the story?
  • How can combining two side characters sometimes make for a stronger story?
  • How can I design a love triangle where both love interests are viable choices for the hero’s future happiness?
  • What makes for a good sidekick/henchman?
  • What is the proper role for a mentor in my story?
  • Why should my side characters have their own goals and display agency?

Instructor Amber Royer's debut Science Fiction novel, Free Chocolate (June 2018), was named one of Barnes & Noble SFF Blog’s 25 Debuts to Watch for in 2018!

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • Amber Royer, Presenter
  • Sunday, August 26, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

Time Flies: Managing the Passage of Time on the Page

Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

Some stories take place in a matter of days, or even hours.  Others are multi-generational epics.  And yet, both need to fit into the number of pages you get for a book manuscript or screenplay.  So how do you manage the progression of time?  We will focus on utilizing effective pacing techniques. This interactive seminar, suitable for fiction writers, screenwriters and memoir writers, will also offer answers to:

  • How can chapter breaks function as time jumps?
  • How can I handle time compression/dilation?
  • What are gradual vs. abrupt time shifts?
  • When is it useful to use montage and summary?
  • If I’m working with non-linear time, how do I put events in a logical order?
  • How do I effectively structure a flashback?
  • How do I enter a flashback and then return to ordinary time?
  • Why should I limit my use of flashbacks?
  • What if I want to include elements of time travel?

Instructor Amber Royer's debut Science Fiction novel, Free Chocolate (June 2018), was named one of Barnes & Noble SFF Blog’s 25 Debuts to Watch for in 2018!

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • Amber Royer, Presenter
  • Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM
  • Seminar meets at The Foundry Club at Mockingbird Station: 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln / Dallas, TX / 75206
  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.