86 Things I’ve Said on Twitter, Part 3

This is Part 3 in a continuing series of things I said on Twitter last week. Part 2 is found here. Today, there are ten items. Rock on.

I’m an editor. My job is to help you get your story/creation/thing into the best shape it can be. Not a “gatekeeper”, unless YOU say so.

“Gatekeeper” as a buzzword cropped up a few years ago (at least as far as I can tell), to explain that in traditional publishing models you have to get your work past some literary Cerberus before your creation can hang out in the word-Underworld.

And this idea set up this them-vs-us sort of barrier, that whoever was a gatekeeper was an obstacle, some additional wall you had to climb or hoop you had to jump through.

Yes, there might be some old crusty guys still adhering to the old model of publishing, and they may very well be quite the gatekeepers, arbitrating and adjudicating whether or not your work is “good enough”. But by and large, that model is on the decline.

I’m an editor. It says so on my business cards. I don’t ever feel like a gatekeeper. I am an enabler. I help you get your creation into the best shape it can be, both so that it may later blow the socks off whatever gatekeeper in encounters, but also so that you can see that you’re good at this, and that you tell good stories and that your stories deserve to be a part of the marketplace and pantheon of creations.

I’m no gatekeeper unless you make me out to be one. Approach me timidly, approach me coming from that place of “Oh John I hope I’m good enough to have you look at this.” and watch me have no choice but to play that role for you, even if I don’t want to. You are good enough to have me (or any editor) look at your work. You just are.

P.S. Please don’t make me be a gatekeeper. It sucks.

If writing is important to you, if it’s a thing you want to do or a thing you want to be called, why aren’t you making time for it?

Far and away, the biggest complaint I hear is how people don’t have time for writing. And they’re quick to trot out a ton of reasons why – they have jobs, they have kids, they’re tired, the phone kept ringing, etc etc. Some of these reasons are valid. Some are not. Usually when this statement gets made at me I point out that some of the reasons aren’t valid and don’t have as much weight as the person thinks they do.

And other times I ask the person to write out their schedule (in big blocks of hours), so that they can see where exactly they’re spending their time, and to see that (for example) while the dishes run, that’s 30 whole minutes where they just sort of sit on the couch. In those same thirty minutes, I bet they could write several paragraphs.

I wrote a whole blogpost about this – Making Time To Create.

If it’s really and truly important to you, you’ll make the time. Just like you make time for exercise or playing with your kids or tending your garden. Make time for what matters to you.

How long are you going to call yourself “new” at writing? When are you going to accept that you love it, and it’s okay to succeed?

Next week, 60 workers are descending upon my home and installing nearly two dozen new windows. This has not only set off a great deal of anxiety (because, hey, new people) but also really rubbed my comfort level the wrong way. In order to give them access to the windows, I’ve had to move all my furniture and bookshelves. This gave me a chance to count my books on writing.

195.

There are three whole bookcases (the floor to ceiling kind) lined with books about how to write, how to plot, how to figure stuff out. And for a long time, I thought that I could find the “right” book that would tell me the perfect way to tell the best story from start to finish. I found a few that came close, but they didn’t exactly  get me there.

Books are often aimed at new writers, or people about to become new writers, because they’re hungry for advice. You know why there aren’t so many books aimed at experienced writers? Because the experienced writers figured something out —

That you figure your own process out as you write. The act of doing the thing teaches you about the thing. In your own way. Tailored precisely for you. That’s not something a book can teach.

How long are you going to chase the books? Sure there are great morsels of advice in those books, sure they might help you. But there’s no substitute for sitting down and writing and discovering yourself by taking the action.

It’s okay to be new at this. It’s okay not to be new at this. It’s okay to succeed. People want you to succeed (not all people, but that’s for another time). You want you to succeed. So, get writing. And succeed. Book or no book.

You know what’s great? An author excited about their work. You know what’s not great? An author paralyzed by bad advice and fear.

Here’s the other danger in books – some of them discourage people from writing by making the process sound scarier or confusing, when in fact, writing is just taking an idea out of your head, and painting it into other peoples’ minds with words.

How can a book of bad advice get published you ask? A couple reasons: 1) If bad advice leads you to not get published, it makes it all the easier for other people to get published (smaller pool of applicants for a job) 2) Some people don’t realize that their advice is bad, thinking so highly of themselves that what they spout is verbal gold, not verbal sludge. 3) Anyone can get anything published (see: whatever awful book you most recently suffered through).

Be excited about your work. Don’t let yourself be dissuaded from your goal. Keep writing, keep going. You can do this. (I mean, unless you can’t, but that’s for another discussion.)

You can curse in your work. In your work, you’re like Aladdin, showing us a world. Do whatever feels best for the story.

I have a client who loves to write arguments. They enjoy creating back-and-forth moments between characters. They love the tight exposition and the chemistry between people in those moments.

And then they write a line like this, “[Character A], you’re a real lame-o.”

When I flag this sentence as being both an eyesore and not indicative of tension, I ask “What’s up with ‘lame-o’ and get told something to the effect of “I didn’t think it was okay to curse.”

It’s totally okay to curse. It’s okay to have sentence fragments. It’s okay to do whatever you need to (short of totally wrecking grammar and punctuation) in order to give the reader the details they need to see this created experience the way you see it / the way you want them to see it.

Curse like a sailor. Kick ass. Take names. Do whatever feels best FOR THE STORY.

Rule #1 – Writing is the act of making decisions. The sky is blue until you say otherwise. Make choices. Own them. Go forward.

I teach this rule to as many of my clients as possible. This is the first thing I say to new writers. I usually say this three or four times during workshops.

How do you know what happens next in the story? You decide. How do you know where to start? You decide.

You’re in charge. Make choices. Put your foot down. Go forward from that point. The only “wrong” choice is not to do anything at all.

Don’t tell me you’re only an author AFTER publication/sales. Are you writing? You’re an author. Sure, you can love how other authors write, you can want to be like them. BUT YOU ARE AN AUTHOR TOO, AREN’T YOU? BE YOU!

There’s a lot of focus on the end-goals of writing. Being published. Being “legit”. Making tons of cash. Living the jet-setting high life. But you don’t get the title of “author” after you write. You get the title AS you write.

This usually partners with another thought – that in order to be an author, you have to sound like an already established author, or you have to do whatever they do. Curse like a Wendig. Emote like a McGuire. Explain like a Hammett.

You don’t. You have one job to do — to write like a [whatever your name is].

That’s what readers want. Not a clone. They want you. Your voice. Your way. Your words.

How much writing is “enough” for a day? You need at least one new word a day. Everything else is icing on cakes.

I’m a big fan of “two new pages a day”. It works great for screenwriting. It makes short work of theater pieces. And in text, when you’re double-spacing, two pages can fly by if it’s a conversation. But that’s my pace. That’s a speed I figured out that works for me, given my schedule and how fast my fingers hit keys. Your speed may be totally different, and that’s okay.

But don’t conceive of writing as a race. It’s no sprint. There’s no bonus waiting for you if you write faster than the person to your left. Your pace is your pace, and at its heart, even one new word a day on the page gets you one step closer to being done. If you can get one more word, then the next words come all the easier. One word at a time. And if you can string several words together into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into pages, and pages into chapters…that’s just awesome.

Worried about your “platform”, your “presence” or [other buzzword here] ? JUST WRITE YOUR STORIES PLEASE. AND THEN TALK ABOUT THEM A LOT

Want to find the people to avoid at a mixer, cocktail hour or slightly douchey conference? Find the people who spout buzzwords more than pronouns. Your life as an author is not about your platform. Yes, you need a platform (read: website, social media presence) if you want to engage/interact with your audience, but it’s just a set of tools to interact with people IN ADDITION TO writing. It’s no measure of your quality as a person, nor a reflection on your work. And anyone who inflates your platform ahead of your writing needs a swift kick in the pants. And/or they’re trying to sell you something.

So what do you do? You write. Then, in whatever media you’re comfortable (me, I like Twitter, podcasts and blogposts) you talk about what you’ve written. Then you write more, then you talk more about it.

Buzzwords can suck it.

How do you make a scene more tense? Focus on big AND little details, but in tighter sentences.

You watch TV? Ever pay attention to the where the camera focuses? Sure it shows up close-ups on our favorite actors, and it shows cars on a road, but did you see how the camera focused on the picture of the character’s wife on the wall when the guy was talking about missing her? It’s showing us a detail that isn’t the character, so that we learn more about the character. 
And that builds tension. See, tension isn’t just what you build when you want to make the next scene more exciting. Tension is any built-up feeling. It could be comedy, like we’re all waiting to laugh. It could be nervousness – will the spy get caught before she can escape? 
How that gets built in visual media is by the camera. In text, we have to go with sentences. Long sentences draw our eye across the page slower than short sentences. 
Compare:
He moved across the room with all determination and purpose, a skulking panther in fleece pajama pants and a grubby t-shirt. 
In his grubby shirt and pajamas, he skulked across the room with a purpose.
21 words versus 14. Shorter sentences have a greater punch, moving us from one thought to the next faster than the longer sentences, which consume time and energy to read. 
Also, what the sentence talks about gives us a clue about what to think about. A character who forever gets dumped upon and is weighed down by the world has a lot of power in their first, “No”. 
During the scene where we’re to be focused on what the character is feeling, try anchoring that feeling to something tangible. A mother’s locket. A picture of a spouse. An image of their kids playing ball in the yard. The dog at their feet.  
The details that aren’t expressly about the character say as much about the character’s world and the character’s place in it as the description of how the character felt at a particular time. 
Remember: You control what the reader pictures. You paint the images on the mental canvas, so what do you want to show us? Where should we pay attention?
Part 4 will be up next week (likely not Monday, maybe Tuesday). Happy writing. 

86 Things I’ve Said on Twitter, Part 2

Last week, I started a new series on the blog: 86 Things I’ve Said on Twitter, a lengthy collection of Tweet-sized advice covering all kinds of motivation, writing, and publishing advice.

Part 1 is here. This is part 2, with eleven items.

And there’s still time to pre-register for tomorrow night’s online workshop.

No one’s going to know if you wrote the thing you did over the course of a month or a year or a decade IF YOU DO THE BEST YOU CAN.

I’m not sure why, but a lot of people, and a lot of books about writing put a large emphasis on how long it takes you to write something. Novels in 90 days, poetry in sixty minutes, twenty-seven overtures before lunch…and I get it, in part. If you give yourself a deadline, you’re challenging part of yourself to be disciplined, and treat it like a short-term goal. And I’m a big fan of discipline when it comes to accomplishing your dreams. BUT, the downside to that discipline is this — sure I can write something in 90 days, but if I’m new at it, if I have my doubts as to my ability, is it going to be any good? (I mean from my own perspective, let alone some other person’s).

Yeah, I can paint a wall in two minutes, but it might not be the prettiest job. I’ve always been the sort of guy who freaks out during timed elements in video games, always worried that I’m going to be late for appointments, always worried that I’m behind some curve — so why would I impose that sense on my work?

There’s no prize for getting it done quickly (and in a lot of cases, instead of a prize, you get a nice assumption that it’s done poorly). It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, so long as eventually, it gets done. Want an example? Check out George RR Martin’s writing/release schedule. Dude’s like a glacier with words.

When you’re explaining what makes your story cool/exciting. THAT’S THE SAME THING AS A PITCH, just less dressed up.

So much emphasis is placed on the pitch – making it sound good, giving it to the right person in just the right way, making sure it has the right words and not these wrong ones over here…it can get really overwhelming and confusing.

Let’s simplify it. When someone is listening to (or reading) your pitch, what are they looking for? Action, the juicy exciting parts that make them want to read/hear the rest of the story. Isn’t that much simpler to think about?

Here’s an example. Pick your favorite movie of all time. Now pick your favorite part of it (just a scene or two). Describe it out loud. Sprinkle in some back story and some explanation on who the characters are, and that’s a pitch.

If you wanted to dress up that pitch, you’d probably use more formal language, maybe chop out a few um’s or uhh’s or something, right? But on the whole, you just pitched your favorite movie to me. You can easily repeat this process for your favorite book, or for the thing you’re writing now.

Have you considered taking one of your characters and changing a trait you take for granted? A king who curses, thieves who like cats?

Characters are a tricky thing. They can be the centerpiece of a great story. They can be memorable for reasons both good and bad. They can also be staler than old crackers. How do you prevent that? How can you keep your characters from “just” being whatever they are, somewhat generic and a little dull?

When you map out your characters, when you write out a character’s aspects, make one of them stand out from the others. I don’t mean suddenly make a guy green or something (though maybe that’s okay, depending on what you’re doing), I mean give the character a trait that isn’t typical for who and what they are.

An alcoholic divorcee who always wanted to get into snorkeling is far more compelling than another drunk lech who mistreated his wife. Having one element of a character stand out is something people will connect to, and make the character memorable.

If you’ve got a word count (like in a contest), don’t forget to cut out adverbs, double-verbs and excess dialog tags. Make words matter

As an editor, I love word count. I make a living on word count. But as a writer, as a game creator, word counts make me break out into cold sweats. They seem like limits that I’m uncontrollably rocketing towards at Mach 1. They seem like hurdles I have to leap…or else meet some grisly fate.

You can trim down the adverbs, they get to be like a crutch, not clarifying the verb as much as you think they do (why can’t you just use a different verb?).

A double-verb is something like “was running” or “had been thinking”. And yes, there’s a place for this sort of construction every once in a while, but on the whole, show this stuff out the door if you’re trying to be more declarative about what your character is or isn’t doing. (Hint: Being declarative is a good thing)

If there are only two characters talking, and you just spent the first two lines of dialogue establishing a rhythm that he-said, then she-said, you don’t need to keep reminding us of that.

Like this:
            “I like your hair.” he said.
            “Thanks.” She blushed. It made her prettier.

Whatever line comes next, we can assume that HE’s going to say it. Save a little space here by not reminding us “he said” “she answered” etc etc. You may need those words later for awesome sentences.

If a character gets shot/blown up/stabbed/burnt in Chapter 1, I’d expect them to be limping/in pain/hurting in Chapter 2.

Unless you’re writing Superman, your character is not a superman. Especially if you’re aiming for “gritty realism” or whatever hot new buzzword corresponds to “realistic”. Many authors, especially new or nervous ones, think that the best way to hook readers is to really go all Michael Bay on the opening pages, blowing up a building or something, as if to set a bar about what you can expect within the next three hundred pages or so. Which is awesome, except…

It sets both a pace and a “power level” for the story that might be too hard to maintain. Blow up a building and I expect repercussions, else the building didn’t really matter to the landscape. Shoot a guy in the gut and I expect blood loss, pain and likely a slow death.

When story elements happen early, I treat them like setups for what happens later in the story, and am satisfied as a reader when they pay off. When things happen (and often they’re fights or injuries) but are immediately shrugged off as if they don’t really hurt or don’t matter, I have to ask myself, “Well, why did the author spend time telling me about them if they aren’t important?”

If that question comes up too many times in a book, I will likely stop reading that book. That’s not a good way to build an audience.

Don’t write a trend into your book. Your story is whatever your story is. It’ll find an audience. It just might not be the one you think.

Trends are short term waves of popularity for ideas and concepts. Remember when everyone told supernatural romance stories? Or when everyone really liked saying sports were “extreme”? Those are trends. And while they make great fodder for magazines and blogs and get scrutinized and predicted by talking heads everywhere, a writer should never feel like they have to include a trend or two just to capitalize on it or be perceived as popular.

It’s not the trend that makes an author popular. It’s what the author does in their story, with their words, in sharing their vision and their world that makes an author popular. Trends are short lived. Audiences last longer. And every book will find an audience eventually, if the search is honest, open and earnest.

If you want to show two characters in love, saying “and now they’re in love” doesn’t cut it. SHOW us scenes to help draw that conclusion

Love is really hard to see. Sure there are actions we undertake to demonstrate that we love someone else, but there’s no giant neon sign over our heads pointing out “she’s in love!”or “he digs her!”.

So look to our actions to figure out whether or not we’re in love. And when you’re trying to convey that character A loves character B, sure they can say it to one another, but proving it is another matter altogether.  Granted, if you’re working in a visual medium, the characters can look at each other and we can see it, but if you’re in print, you need to play out those scenes that help us draw the conclusion that yes, this couple is in love.

Think of exposition like a camera, zooming in on details or pulling back to show us how big the picture is.

This idea is called “psychic distance” and I teach a lot about it in workshops. Your exposition is where we get to see the whole stage, so where are we to focus? We’ll follow the narration. How are you describing the birds in the trees? If it’s just a word or two, then maybe they’re not a big deal. If you’ve broken out two paragraphs on the merits of sparrows, then clearly, you’ve got something to say about birds. (The amount of words you spend on a thing tells us that the thing-described has more “narrative weight”, meaning, it’s a big deal)

You control what the reader focuses on, from the littlest detail about an eyebrow quirk to the big importance of the wind during a hurricane. And we want to follow the ‘camera’ as it tells us the story.

You know what’s annoying? Written st-st-st-st-st-stutters. When a person stutters, we get it.

S-s-s-s-s-s-ee h-h-h-ow ann-n-n-n-n-oy-y-y-y-y-y-ing th-th-th-th-th-is looks? Don’t do it. Don’t use the actual display of text to convey something. Typography is great and cool when we’re doing layout and games and things, but when we’re cranking out 300 pages of fiction, how about you just say “he stammered” and move forward?

Shockingly not every story has to risk the whole of existence, the fate of all beings or the entire kingdom. Small stories work too.

We talked a little before about how a story’s “power level” can be this huge monumental thing, which causes a story to be very much weighted towards the maximum side of whatever scale we’re talking about. It may seem obvious that when a story involves all a race or an entire planet or whatever, that we’re supposed to care extra because of the quantity of danger.

But can’t the flipside also be true? If you’ve only introduced four characters in the whole story, and you risk a pair of them, that’s 50% of the characters in the story. Keeping the psychic distance close to the characters and keeping the story intimate is what makes us care about the risks. It’s only a numbers game in comic books, summer action movies or those B-movies on SyFy.

You don’t have to write in dialect in order to be understood in dialect. That’s for the reader to manage.

Before we go further, congratulate yourself on reading this far. Now, our last point of the day. Earlier in this list we talked about that annoying stutter. The same is true for breaking out accents and dialects. It might be funny the first time character A encounters character B, but on the sixtieth time, when I’m supposed to have these two characters as buddy cops solving a crime, I’m more wanting B to just make some damned sense so the killer gets caught.

You accomplish more saying “He spoke in a brogue” than trying to parse out the vowel sounds and where the apostrophes go in the lines of dialogue. You’ll get less frustrated typing it, your editor will gripe less at you, and most importantly, the reader won’t be confused as to what a character is saying.

Part 3 will be up Friday. Happy writing. 

86 Things I’ve Said On Twitter, Part 1

If you’ve been following me on Twitter over the last two days, I’ve just been bombarding social media with punchy little lists of writing tips and advice. I hope I didn’t upset or offend anyone in blasting a stream of thoughts, it wasn’t my intention.

In part this is because I have a Workshop (I’ve recently found the phrase “creativity workshop” which is pretty great) coming up Tuesday night (details here) and in part because these thoughts constantly rocket through my brain and I usually just bite my tongue because some other editor or a respected writer says these things at a much slower pace. And frankly, it’s felt pretty good to just throw all these things out there, and see how they help people.

So, rather than just drop all 86 without explanation, I’m breaking them into chunks. Here are the first six.


1. Don’t think about writing in terms of “getting published”, think about it in terms of “I want readers to read stuff”. Aim for audience. 

It’s really tempting, and a lot of books reinforce this idea that publishing is some be-all, end-all that once you get published, it’s all sunshine and roses and puppies. But, talk to published authors, and a lot of them are working harder now than before they were first published — almost as if publishing isn’t the end of the marathon, but the start of a new one. To that end, I caution you not to go so far down the “must get published to be legit” road, and think instead of what publishing translates to, which means readers get their hands on your creations. The goal is to get readers (as that assumes they’ve spent money to purchase your things, right?). Think of all the books that sit unread on a shelf. Sure, they’re published, but are they being read?

2. How long should a book be? Long enough to show me a plot arc, some interesting character growth and some insight about you as a writer.

One of my favorite amusing things to Google, aside from “the A-Team theme song”, is “how long should a book be” because the answers are so varied, yet so certain of themselves. Novels have this many words. Novellas have that many words. Oh you have some other number that’s just a hair over? Well then you fall into this third category.

See, these categories are imposed on authors by publishers for a lot reasons (read: costs to print, edit and produce) and aren’t really indicators of quality or requirement. A novella is a short novel, but a short novel is also a short novel. A book of poems might just be ten words, but a children’s book might also be ten words. The labels and connotations of those labels don’t always translate well to the people writing whatever they’re writing – because if you get it into your head that you have only a certain number of words to say what you have to say, then you’re going to panic as that number approaches.

Take a different tack. Let the story be however long it’s going to be, so that over the course of the story, the reader can see the plot get introduced, developed and solved as well as the character(s) involved get some expansion and maturation as well. How you do this, however you choose to accomplish those goals will share some insights about who and what you are as a writer. (Because you’ll favor certain terms, build sentences in a certain way, shy away from some details while promoting others, etc)

3. If you’re writing for young adults, the keyword is “adults” – treat them smartly, accept them. Don’t lecture or talk down to them.

I have a lot of cousins. And while they’re older now, for many years family gatherings were packed with children, running around, making noise and generally being children. Universally though, across age ranges and gender, every single one of them would roll their eyes, sigh and take a tone with an adult who got it in their head that as an adult there was a great deal more superiority than there actually was.

As an author, you’re the adult. But, don’t be THAT adult. You’re not doing these kids a favor by coming down from on high to grant them a little morsel of word-ambrosia. You’re SHARING a story with them, you’re SHARING this experience of “I made a thing, I hope you enjoy it”.

Children aren’t miniature adults, you can’t expect them to express the full depth of maturity and understanding that adult readers do – but not because they lack the understanding, merely because they lack the experience. Let your book be something that gives them an experience they can take forward.

4. Not every kiss is fiery. Not every embrace is passionate. Not everything a character does is at 100% efficiency. Let them be wrong

I’ve talked about this here and elsewhere – that a character who never fails and always super-succeeds is kind of a let-down. It’s the risk in a character’s actions, the chance that they’ll fail, that makes us care about the character.

And while that talks about big potentially bad things that the character faces, we can also apply it to the not-dangerous behaviors as well. What’s interesting about a character who always kisses the best kisses on the planet? Or who always makes the best omelets? Hyperbole aside, if everything is special, nothing is special. Also, the more perfect the character becomes, the less connection to them we (the imperfect audience) feel. Because our kisses aren’t always earth-shattering. Because we burn breakfast. Because we get really nervous talking to one another. It’s our mistakes AND our successes that define us, so why isn’t that true for characters?

5. If you’re setting the story in a kingdom and we’re not learning about politics or social class, why do we need to know it’s a kingdom?

This is about focusing and distributing details. As readers we assume that what you’re giving us is important, because you’re, well, giving it to us. Telling us about something, tossing some adjectives about down on paper draws our focus to it. And if you spend even more than an adjective on it, we conclude that it has to be even more important than that, so when you talk about it and then move on without ever coming back, we feel deprived and a little misled. (I’m looking at you numerous unfinished plots in TV dramas)

If the scale (how big the set pieces within the story are) doesn’t include or involve the big landscape details you’re giving them, why are you giving them? (Hang on a second, we’ll talk more about this)

6. When figuring out which details to keep and which to cut, ask “Does this detail show me a new thing or explain an old thing?” Stay new.

Just like we talked about above, it’s important to know WHY you’re giving detail X at the moment you are. If I’m describing…the room I’m writing this in, I may talk about the way to the desk is worn and aged. I may talk about the view out the window to my left. I may talk about the mess of papers to my right. Those details help you paint the mental picture about what the desk looks like and tells you a little about how I keep my office space. But…do you need to know the color of my shirt? Sure, you can find out about it later (purple t-shirt), but how does knowing the shirt’s color tell you more about the desk or the office? It’s a stretch to say “oh he’s wearing a t-shirt, that explains a lot about how organized he is” — that’s you imposing your conception of how an office should run onto my story. And that’s not fair to you or to the story.

When it comes time to edit and trim, one of the things I look for is why details are in the places they’re in. That question above asks “what’s the purpose of this detail?” which is key for knowing what has to stay in a draft and what has to come out. Likewise it helps pare down the number of different ways I express the same detail. How many various ways can I call my desk “full” or “active”? Breaking out the thesaurus doesn’t further the story, it just moves things laterally, heaping similar repeated statements atop one another in a slowly stalling strata of story.

Part 2 (the next ten) will be out on Monday. Have a great weekend. Hope to see you on Tuesday night.

The Pay What You Want Workshop Series #1 – Characters

It’s time. I’m excited to announce…

The Pay What You Want Workshop Series

Oh yes, it’s a thing, I’m doing it, it’s going to be great.

Workshop #1 deals with characters – what makes them good, what makes them bad, how to fix them, and what compromises memorable ones.

Here are the crunchy details:

1. The Workshop is on Tuesday March 19 at 7pm EST. It’ll be about two hours – an hour or so of presentation, and time after that for questions and answers. Note: this is exactly the same format for my in-person Workshops.

2. The Workshop will be held via a Google+ Hangout. (Here is the link to say you’re coming.)

3. Since I had a rather hard time (much harder than I expected) developed/discovering a good registration system – I wanted there to be a mailing list, tickets and pre-registration and either the individual costs were high or I couldn’t get one element to play nice with the others – there will be a ‘Limited’ circle on Google+ for registration. As these things get rolling, and as I discover other methods for prepping online classes, I’ll transition to something else.

That’s it. On Tuesday the 19th, you just need to sign into Google Plus (http://plus.google.com) and if you’ve pre-registered (there will be a message thread on Google+ to do so), you’ll get a link to the Hangout for the Workshop.

Here are the Payment details:

1. Before, during and after the Workshop, you Paypal (again, if there’s another method, I’m open to suggestions) me whatever amount you see fit. I’ll give you the Paypal address when you register for the Workshop.

I’ve tried to make this a pretty transparent and easy process (I have spared you the lengthy complaining about getting Eventbrite or DoAttend to cooperate), but if you have questions, write me an email.

See you all on the 19th.