Pen & Paper
This course is meant to be both educational and entertaining. There is no reason why learning can’t be a pleasant experience. Too often “learning” is boring – a chore. That is why many people don’t finish a course.
The purpose of this course is to help you understand the craft of writing fiction. There are different components to the course and all are designed to assist you on your journey as a writer.
This course is designed to meet the needs of a variety of learners. There is more flexibility in the course layout. Everyone’s understanding of – and ability to – write fiction is different. Thus, feel free to skip to the sections where you feel as though you need the most help.
Understand: Learning can – and should be – entertaining. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy learning. Certainly there is work to be done, but if you don’t like writing – and it isn’t fun for you – then you should be taking a course in something else. Something that you like doing.
Why is the course structured this way? Why audio? Because I want you to spend your time writing. Not watching a video. You can do chores, wash dishes, drive your kids to school, drive to work, etc. and listen. I do not ever want you to sit and stare at a screen and “learn”. If you are going to sit down and concentrate on something then it needs to be your writing. If you are going to be a writer, then you need to be getting words on the page.
How much actual work is there to do? Well, I want you to read something and be familiar with the course materials. And then I want you to listen. The book is my reference point. You may need to read it more than once.
This is a course in writing. In order to understand how to write, you are going to need to read what I have written.
Sometimes more than once.
The purpose of these writing exercises is to help you learn to get words on the page…without hesitation. But there is more. Much more. I want you to understand what makes good writing – by exposing you to the very best writers. Writers such as Voltaire, Johnson, Shakespeare, and more, have a keen understanding of the craft of writing. These writers were able to express their ideas so well because they had a broad understanding of history, culture, and humanity.
What will I be writing?
This will vary from person to person. Each writer needs to write his or her own stories. Not mine. I will provide a framework for how you can approach (and solve) this problem, but it is your job to figure out what you are going to write.
Where will I take this course?
From the comfort of your own home. Or anywhere you can access (and print) the online materials. This digital age that we live in makes online learning a possibility.
When can I take this course?
You can access the course materials as soon as you purchase it. This one-time fee gives you lifetime access to the course (and subsequent updates to it for as long as the course remains online).
Who should take this course?
You should take this course if you are interested in learning the craft of writing commercial fiction. What do I mean by “commercial fiction”? Simply put, commercial fiction is good storytelling – fiction that people will want to read. That is all.
You should take this course if you want to read a good book. In order to understand what makes for good fiction, you will need to read good fiction.
This one-time fee gives you lifetime access to the course (and subsequent updates to the course for as long as the course remains online).
Why pay thousands of dollars (or even hundreds of dollars) on a writing course?
The course materials are listed below.
- a printer (or some way to print the PDFs) and paper
- a pen or pencil
- a writing notebook (if you like to write using pen and paper) or a keyboard and computer
- a computer (or some way to access the digital materials), including headphones or a speaker to listen to the audio instruction
A Word of Caution
Prior to purchasing this course, you should understand the following:
You should have a good command of the English language and a fundamental grasp of the mechanics of writing. This is not a course in grammar, punctuation, or spelling. Mistakes in spelling and grammar impede a reader’s ability to understand and appreciate your writing. Make sure that your writing is largely error free before taking this course.
You should know that this course is not going to teach you how to write a blockbuster bestseller that sells millions of copies and lands a movie deal which allows you to retire to a villa in the south of France. If that’s the case, then go buy a lottery ticket. It will take less time, be less expensive, and yield the same results. This is not a course on how to write a bestseller. Making such claims is a marketing ploy. I make no such claims. What is more, having a bestseller has more to do with marketing than writing. There are many bestsellers that aren’t worth the paper that they are printed on.
You should understand that writing is a craft. It takes time, patience, and practice. There are no short cuts. You should be willing to write. The more you practice the craft of writing, the better you will become. In this course, I will show you how I practice the craft of writing.
You should enjoy reading. I am going to ask you to read.
You should have some time during your day to devote to writing. Please note that I did not say that you should have time during your day to devote to this course. Your primary goal should be writing. Pen & Paper is designed to help you become a better writer, so be prepared to write.
If you are going to take the course or lessons offered herein, then you should know what I consider to be good writing.
James Herriot: All Creatures Great and Small
Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert Newton Peck: A Day No Pigs Would Die
Bruce Catton: Reflections on the Civil War
Wait…what? These are different genres? Fiction, Science Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, and History. What do they have in common?
First and foremost, all of these books saw commercial success. The goal is to teach you about commercial fiction. Not literary fiction. These titles are examples of writing that made money. They were commercially successful. And they shared other common traits, besides being very well-written. I will examine and present these shared traits in Pen & Paper.
Just as musical tastes differ, so too, do literary tastes. Please note, that just because our tastes might differ does not mean that you cannot learn from what I have to teach.
Remember, there are different types of teachers, doctors, therapists, dentists, hair stylists. You have to find the right fit. Hopefully, the information that I have provided will help you to decide if this course is the right fit for you.