Writing Class

Greetings!

I have been pondering the possibility of creating a writing class to help those who aren’t sure how to start writing, get into writing, etc. Udemy is a website that I use quite frequently to take classes for my other hobbies and really liked the idea of sending out another perspective on writing.

Obviously, I would like to be as in-depth as possible. My goal is to cover everything a new or struggling writer would need to know. I’m brainstorming different ideas but would like your input as well! What are some topics you would like me to cover? Here is what I have so far.

  • Introduction (Who I am, How I got into writing, my recent novel, etc.)
  • The Writing Process
    • Finding Inspiration
    • Creating Characters
    • Creating a New World
    • Outlining your novel
      • Creating scenes, big moments, and plot twists
      • Character Growth
      • Foreshadowing (for future books or later in the novel)
    • First Draft
    • First Edit (Content)
      • Content – Quality vs. Quantity
      • Descriptions
      • Character Speech
    • Second Edit
      • Grammatical Edit (can use an Editor for this)
      • Reading Paragraphs backwards.
    • Third Edit
      • Prose Edit
      • How different from First Edit
      • Flow of Story
    • Additional Edits
  • Beta Readers
    • What are they and how do they help?Questions
    • Do you have to change everything they suggest?
    • Taking Constructive Criticism
  • Publishing Process (Self-Publishing)
    • Writing Software (Google Docs -> Microsoft Word -> Scrivener)
    • Why Scrivener? Publishing Outlets (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Goodreads)
    • Book Cover (Fiverr.com vs. professional cover artists)
    • Writing a Synopsis
    • Finishing Touches
  • Marketing a Book
    • Pinterest
    • Writer’s Blog
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Author Events
    • Connecting with Other Authors & Readers
  • Getting Started on your Next Book and Conclusion

Any other items that you think should be added on the list? Thank you in advance for the comments! πŸ™‚ I will do my best to finalize the outline and get started on making the videos!

Perfectly Imperfect

She was an angel craving chaos. He was a demon seeking peace. A Gemini of sorts, trapped in a perpetual mundane existence, searching for purpose. For it was this century that they would meet. In limbo they found one another’s gaze and felt the earth quake in their presence. The Universe tethered them together, no matter how many miles separated them, and returned them to the place where they met.

He was raised from hellfire, understanding the necessity of war. She, a pacifist who saw the flowers as they were. He, a critical and wary gaze upon others. Her, a warm and loving stare. He became closed off. She welcomed too much. Tired, he grew from constant anticipation of attack. Fatigued, she grew from being used and disposed of. But it was in their middle-ground that they truly grew. He slowly began to break down barriers while she created healthy boundaries. Together, they became unstoppable.

But it was her patient heart and his stubborn determination that enticed one another. His temper would burn the world ten times over until the moment her soft hand was placed upon his quaking chest. Suddenly, the flame would extinguish and be replaced with a white light of serenity. No matter the reason, she stood steadfast. He felt like he had reached Nirvana in her touch. Love before her was never enough as they allowed him to burn with rage until he was utterly spent. But not this time. He wondered whether fate had felt pity on him, or he genuinely deserved her. Feeling of inadequacy completely diminished when he stood upon her shoulders, bolstering him far above those around him. She forced him to see what he truly was, a perfectly imperfect being.

But it was his unpredictably that she wholly loved him for. For being a healer, expending every drop of energy on those she believed to love before left her feeling alone. He, unlike those before him, noticed her pain. The tears shed underneath the strength she showed to others. Countless people came to her for healing only she could give. However, in time, she grew weary. When his eyes noticed the bombardment she encountered, so he stood before her, wings encompassing her body. He alone protected her until she was ready to face the world once again. She felt safe, but not confined. Something she discovered in his inner turmoil calmed her. He understood her purpose and allowed her to be free, watching closely so she would never be taken for granted again.

For both of them struggled against their early days. Their haunted pasts. He, for recklessness. She, for servitude. But it was in their scars that they found strength, tossing their clothing upon the ground and showing their nakedness to one another. Vulnerable they embraced and raised one another on high. And as they stood above the earth, they cared not for the comments of others. They only heard themselves.

Many obstacles attempted to prevent them from their first embrace, their first kiss. They endured the endless storms. Battled alongside one another only fortified their bond. Patience was finally rewarded and they would forever be one. When the world witnessed the perfection in their love, they stopped and watched. Much to their surprise, the Universe and those within it agreed with their connection. Time would tell, but their emotions stood strong despite those who attempted to destroy their bliss. It was their very existence, so vastly different, that made them so similar.

She was an angel craving chaos. He was a demon seeking peace.

The Wild One

Pine and Fir trees conceal numerous stories that become myth. A light flickering through the treetops, people speak of witches and spirits lingering from history passed. Sometimes, hushed whispers and bone-chilling winds come up from the depths and scare the livestock and the people in town. Many travelers do not dare come this way. They stay along the main road and avert their gaze to the sign reading: Corpse Cove.

The name of the town itself should be daunting enough, but it’s people tend to keep away from the affairs of outsiders. Those who have read the newspapers coming from this lonely town flock in interest. And those who live in Corpse Cove happily oblige their deepest fantasies for a fee. Murder mysteries derived from true events and horseback tours of the recent fire that wiped out a third of the homes, the townspeople thrive on death. Perhaps they are obsessed with it, as it is all they know.

A quaint Inn sits nearest to the forest with the windows strategically built to view as much of the treeline as possible. The most expensive room sits atop a tower, up a winding staircase, and perched high enough to see for miles. Claims of mysterious glowing orbs dancing over the horizon just before nightfall and sounds of drums and singing are carried with the wind. All of these and so much more make Corpse Cove ripe for spirit activity.

But it wasn’t always named this way. When the town was first inhabited twenty years ago, a settler and his wife named the land Harristown. Maude and Earl Harris, along with a few of their close friends and relatives, began to build. When the town was christened, so were the Harris’. Maude was pregnant.

However, it wasn’t a joyous time for everyone in Harristown. Earl’s mother, an eccentric by the town’s standards, never cared much for Maude and believed that her grandchild would deface the ‘good Harris name’. So, she devised a plan. Late one night, a raven came to her windowsill, sat upon it, and beckoned for her. She followed it deep into the forest, black as pitch. Suddenly, she spotted a fire. No one was around except her and the raven, that, when she turned to look back at it, had transformed into a grey fox with a woman standing beside it. Both had silver eyes glinting against the flames.

“I know what it is you request of the spirits of the forest,” she said in a low, melodic voice. “We require sacrifice as payment.”

The old lady swallowed the lump in her throat, but the first person to come to mind was Maude. No, that would be too obvious. “If I decide to sacrifice the child?”

“She will become us,” the spirit explained, though her mouth did not move. Her voice came and went with the wind. “If she has done no wrong, this will be the end of Harristown as you know it. Heed my warning or do not, that is your choice.”

But the old woman choose her own path. Clouded by hate for Maude, she allowed her son to raise the child for three years to keep suspicions at bay. On the evening of the child’s third birthday, the Spirit’s wolf awaited the old lady and the toddler at the forest’s edge. No tears were shed until dawn when Maude and Earl found that their daughter went missing. They believed that a thief stole her in the night, and they weren’t entirely wrong.

For months they searched surrounding lands, always returning to Harristown for comfort. On their final search destination, Earl’s mother decided to go alone.

“Perhaps she is in Ashville,” she offered. Still, only she knew where their precious daughter had disappeared that night. Earl begged to accompany her, but she refused.

Two days passed when the old lady returned down the dirt road to the wooden sign stamped with her last name. Something was different as she turned off the main road and began the mile ride to the town. It was the smell. She remembered it as fresh maple and wildflowers, but not this time. This time, it smelled like smoke.

“Help,” it was Maude’s voice coming from the bottom of the hill. “Please help us. Earl… the others.”

“If she has done no wrong, this will be the end of Harristown as you know it. Heed my warning or do not, that is your choice.” It echoed in the old woman’s mind.

The moment her carriage turned towards the hill, her eyes widened. Smoldering remains of over half the town came into view. Maude was slumped over next to the horses, crying hysterically. Her legs were badly burned.

“I’m so sorry, ma,” she wept. “I tried to save him, but he wouldn’t leave the house. He said he saw her, ma. He said he saw our daughter.”

“What?” The old woman’s heart started racing and her palms became sweaty. “That can’t be possible. It’s been months. She’s gone.”

Suddenly, the widow screamed and pointed to the forest. Her hands were shaking violently. “No.”

“That’s impossible,” the old woman said. But again, the Spirits warning repeated in the back of her mind.

The two women stood there, flabbergasted as a very young girl with fiery red hair wrapped in messy braids stood at the threshhold. Perched on her shoulder was a raven and just beside her was the fox. All three of them had bright silver eyes. But it was what the girl said that terrified them.

“I’m sorry mommy. I had to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen. She left me here to die and now I must take you all with me.”

***

Although the town changed it’s name since that day, the stories did not die with Maude and Earl. Years have passed and it is still a bustling town with a dark past. But that is the charm. None of the spirits in the fire were laid to rest and their remains still haunt the town. Maude and Earl can be heard weeping in various places around town and seen on the full moon nights. Their specters glide through the streets, calling out to their lost child. Other townspeople can be heard screaming in pain from time to time. But the most noted ghost is that of Earl’s mother. They claim she is the most active because she was banished from the afterlife. Everyone who comes to Corpse Cove has seen her in one way or another. Mirrors reflecting her likeness, a shadow of a shuffling hunched woman through hallways and the streets. But on the anniversary of her grandchild’s birthday, she can be followed.

Her path? The very same she took all those years ago. From the home of her son to the treeline. Those brave enough to follow can find her weaving around trees that have since fallen over to a small clearing – a perfect circle. Some claim that the remnants of a fire still burns, but only the coals. The old woman’s spirit sways back and forth for an hour, dwelling on her choice and leaving to her home. Only to return with her grandchild and disappears again.

Tales say that the child still lives within the trees, raised by wolves and the Spirit who spoke to the old woman. Her red hair – a reminder of the havoc she caused her family and the town she should have grown up in. Even still, you can see her glowing persona just beyond the treeline, watching over Corpse Cove.

But those are just stories right?

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed and I would love to read your take on the 3 prompts above. πŸ™‚

Those Who Come After

Another rainy day when Reya Quinn found herself at the local library again. She drew in the black umbrella and took in the smell of aging paper, goosebumps rose on her arms, not from the chill, but from the nostalgia of of stories from decades ago and yesteryear. Each aisle, she would loosely draw her fingertips along the bindings, plastic and fabric, bound by machine or hand. Every so often she would stop, take a step back, and open a book with her black-painted fingernails. Skimming through the first chapter, she would make a decision – Was it worthy of reading, sitting down in a comfy chair in her favorite corner, and allowing the day to melt? Or, would it be placed back onto the shelf for another reader at another time?

Today was different. The thunderstorm just outside the window had turned the sky a dangerous green. The library, which was normally rather busy, was nearly desolate. The tables were bare, with the exception of one elder gentleman, three college-students, and a handful of middle-aged adults in a Book Club. Even the employees were scarce. A few people murmured something about the tornado and rushed back to their cars, disappearing behind a wall of rain.

Brave Reya found the weather, the lack of other people, and the silence comforting. Her routine began after her umbrella found the side of a comfortable armchair in the corner surrounded by windows and her lunchbox laid upon on the end table. Adjusting her black, pleated skirt, she sauntered to the nearest aisle and drifted back and forth, stopping here and there.

For some reason, she could not choose a story for the day. Nothing matches how I’m feeling. This book is too feisty. This book is too ‘romantic’. This one is too blasΓ©. Too allegorical. Too fictional. Too…

“Wait,” she whispered to herself.

Something caught her eye. “What’s this doing back here?”

The oldest book that Reya had ever seen found it’s way into her hands. However, it was in excellent condition. As if it had never been touched. She had to remove half the books on the shelf in front to make enough space to remove the book without making a peep. When the last library book was on it’s shelf, she rushed over to her chair and studied every inch of it.

There was no title, no indication of an author. The front of the book did not have a dust jacket or date of publication. Nothing – or the lack of information – caught her intrigue. A familiar crackling filled her ears as she opened to the first page. It was nearly blank with the exception of one line. Two sentences.

To whom it may concern. Read at your own risk.

Deep down, her gut urged her to turn the page. Her heart began to race as she unknowingly turned to next page. A paragraph was all that was written.

This details the final days of Earth and all that transpired to it’s ultimate demise. My hope by sending these notes into the past, someone will carry on the message until the events begin. My only concern is how far in my past I send this. Be warned reader. What is contained in the text cannot be unread. You alone will be responsible for carrying the message in whatever way you see fit. But by doing nothing, you are only delaying the inevitable. You have my well wishesReya Quinn.

Reya looked around at the rest of the library. No one stirred. “This has to be a joke,” she mouthed. The next page turned and she felt herself literally being sucked into the parchment.

The next thing she knew, a somewhat familiar sight filled her gaze. Shards of moonlight fell on the grassy plain where she lay. The moon itself was no longer spherical, but blown to smaller, jagged chunks. Reya immediately knew that she was no longer in 2019. The book had literally brought her into the future. Somehow, someway. What had been filled with stories was now a binding of blank pages and a pen in her hand. Without actually knowing why she was there and for what purpose, she started down the hill and towards a city lit with lanterns and trash fires.

For six years, Reya Quinn recounted the downfall of the country and the world. What started as numerous civil wars expanded into the war to End All Times. Every country, every continent battled for survival. Nuclear wastelands decimated the Third World. When ammunition became scarce, iron mines and scrap metal were hoarded, mined, and melted. Livestock became a delicacy and rice with potatoes became a staple in food. Death was no longer a mysterious occurrence with funerals and wakes. It became an uncommon thing not to see at least a dozen each day. This brought disease which slowly drained humanity of it’s numbers… until we became a rarity… an antique.

Still, Reya pursued. In the past, she had nothing. After a while, she realized that the book she found in the library never had any content. It was meant to find her that day and meant to take her back to write it for another. She was the liaison between time and space to keep the world from it’s ultimate collapse… On October 16th, 2257 something in her gut said that the end was near. Her final day, she reminisced of the past.

I have had the pleasure of meeting wonderfully profound individuals working to rebuild what we have lost. Growing up, I had no idea that my role in life would be so pivotal, so filled with uncertainty. The scientists who have spent so much time healing illnesses I could never comprehend in that library two hundred years ago have given me one chance to go back. Myself or the book. But who would listen to a goth-girl claiming they were from the future? No. It must be the book. But it could not be found in a library by someone with the quiet voice of sheep among wolves. Whoever it is, must be of sane mind and faith that what is contained in the pages is truth.

My deepest love, Naomi, took liberty in sketching scenery that would be unmistakable evidence of what we see on a daily basis. Perhaps even some of the diseases that raid our people will be cured prior to this time. Reader, with the utmost haste, do not let us down. You may not be directly effected by the events of my today, but your future generations and your namesake will be. I understand that humanity is inherently selfish, but please do not succumb to the pitfalls of the primal brain. I beg of you, do not delay.

Now, I fear the end is near for the rest of us. Another force, somewhere outside our atmosphere is growing. We have had dealings with some foreign beings, but none who seemed to have any animosity for our measly existence. Deep down, I believe that we have been deceived. If I say my goodbyes today, I will feel that my work is done, but still hope for a tomorrow...

I’m Not Her Mary Jane

“Can we just stop talking about this?” Madison leaned closer to the microphone and enunciated his response.

This was the dozenth time that the neighbor, Kendra, tried to interview her for the College Newspaper. Everyone on the damn campus knew who her roommate was outside of classes, but she never talked much. Kendra just hoped that she could get some insider information on “The Mage”.

“We both know that I am not going to stop harassing you until I get a column in the paper… Now, I’ll ask you again… tell me about your roommate – Victoria Brooks aka The Mage.”

By this point, Madison was fed up with being badgered. “Fine. It’s annoying. She leaves at all times of the morning and night, but she isn’t quiet about it. Look at these bags under my eyes. That’s from lack of sleep. She may not need it, but I friggin do.”

Kendra sat back in her chair with her hands up. “Woah. Okay… what about the good things? Is she helping other countries? What type of powers does she use here?”

“She almost blew up the entire dorm and everyone in it. Tried to light a Bunsen Burner and lit it too violently.” Madison pointed to a large, V-shaped, blackened space on the wall. “She’s lucky she can control the fire once it goes flying out of her hand.”

It was almost like the interviewer suffered from selective hearing. “So, what good things?”

But Madison refused to back down. She stood up, paced around the room, choosing her words carefully. There are no good things, she wanted to say. “I’m not her Mary Jane,” she finally said. “Let’s just put it that way.”

Kendra only picked up on the Spiderman reference. “Oh, how cool! Do you help her with saving the world?”

“You are some kind of moron, aren’t you?” Madison shook her head, walked over to the mic, and rose her voice. “She doesn’t tell me anything. She just annoys the crap out of me. I don’t get sleep. I’m constantly worried for my life because she can’t control the severity of her powers. I live in constant stress. Guess what? No one cares about me. I’m just the only one you can talk to without asking her these questions. But she never talks to me. We aren’t friends. I didn’t even know her last name until you just said it.”

The recording software screeched and an awkward silence hung between Kendra and Madison. The Interviewer just stood up, brushed off her skirt, snatched up her materials, and slammed the door behind her.

At that moment Madison rushed over to the window and looked down. “You know I friggin hate you right Vicki? All that – that I just told her – it’s all true. You really need to stop thinking about just you.”

The Mage floated into the room and landed in between the two beds. “At least your Acting Major is paying off, right?”

Sorry for the short one today! Some days inspire me more than others. πŸ™‚