The Novel Writers Academy – Do you want it?

Are you tired of being educated ABOUT writing?

Do you just want someone who knows what they’re doing help you do it?  

Specifically, do you want to develop a killer story idea, outline it, and write the first 3 chapters with the guidance of a pro?

If so, then here’s your chance to vote to have me create a course that will do just that. 

Read on for more information…

Educating versus Training

When you’re educated about something, you can talk about concepts and principles. You can recall facts. But most people I know don’t want to be educated about writing. They want more than another class, podcast, video, or book about the topic.

They want to be trained.

They want to develop a killer idea, sketch it out, and actually begin writing. Not just watch or read about it. But they want some help.

I’ve been asked many times if I would teach an online class or workshop, but I’ve put it off for years because I know that I don’t want to offer just another set of videos about writing.

Of course, I will offer just videos. That’s all some people want.

But I know there are others out there who want to go beyond that. They want on-the-job training. They want to develop a fun story, but don’t know the process well enough, and want someone who knows it to guide them.

They want training.

But training takes time. More than the time it takes to create videos or posts.

That’s what I do, by the way. When I’m not writing novels, I work in corporate America training people to actually do things. Over the last 20 years I’ve trained people to do everything from give compelling presentations and speak Dutch to plan and schedule manufacturing plants and close their accounting books at the end of a financial period.

And so I know there’s a difference between being educated about something and being trained.

Just think about it. Do you want a surgeon who has been educated about surgery or one that’s been trained to perform surgery at a mastery level? Do you want a plumber who has been educated about plumbing, or one that’s been trained to plumb? Do you want your airplane pilot to be educated about flying or trained to fly, in all sorts of weather?

Going to school and being educated is cool, awesome, and necessary. But we all know we have to go beyond that. We need to be able to actually DO things. Training requires you know concepts and principles, but it also requires you take the next step and actually do something.

Do You Want Training?

I’m willing to provide this on-the-job training, but before I develop and conduct this course, I need to know enough people are interested in it for it to be worth my time (it would probably be more sensible for me to focus exclusively on getting the books I need to write out the door, but I love to teach too, and had to figure out a way to do it).

So here’s the test. If you want to take the class described below, sign up to express your interest.

This does not obligate you to anything. It simply says that you are almost 100% sure you want to take the class, barring earthquakes, plagues of demons, or crazy in-laws.

When enough people signup, I know it will be worth my time, and the love of teaching part of me will be able to convince the sensible part of me to do it.

And then I’ll do a Kickstarter to make it official. Or I may just develop and release. We shall see.

So, here’s more on the course.

Your Novel’s Core: Develop a Killer Idea, Outline it, and Write the First 3 Chapters

The first order of business is to determine if this course is right for you.

Do you want to write a novel, but feel like you have no idea what you’re doing?

Do you often get ideas for a character or setting or snippets of scenes and dialogue, but find they just never go anywhere?

Are you tired of learning about writing, and just want someone who knows what they’re doing help you to do it?

If so, this class is for you.

This is not a theory class. Oh, we’ll talk about theory. You’re going to learn a ton of theory. But this isn’t about theory because I don’t care about theory. And neither, I suspect, do you. I care about developing an awesome story experience and sharing it with readers who enjoy it as much as I do.

So I’m not interested in talking about it. I’m interested in doing it. And having fun.

Which means that in this course you’re going to:

  • Develop at least 10 story ideas that beg you to write them
  • Select one of those ideas and create an outline
  • Write the first three chapters of that novel

In order to do that, you will need to learn the secrets to:

  • A story idea that works and how to come up with one
  • Interesting characters and how to develop one
  • Transporting your reader to the story so they feel like they are witnessing the whole thing
  • Keeping readers on the edge of their seats
  • What story and plot are really about
  • Writers block and why it’s a gift (no, really, it is)
  • Knowing what comes next
  • Getting feedback from beta readers that’s actually helpful (and if you don’t know this, much of what you’ll get will be worthless)

These secrets and many more. But remember: this isn’t a course about secrets. It’s a course about you actually improving your ability to generate story ideas, develop them into ideas worthy of a novel, and then write them.

This means you need to not only produce, but also have someone who has the ability look at your work and guide you along. It means getting feedback.

So I will be there helping you every step of the way. And if you’re writing in a genre I don’t know as well, I will loop in working authors who are successful in that genre to add their two cents.

Fumbling in the Dark

I started my novel writing career when I received a three-book, $50,000 deal from a major publisher. I am now an indie author with books that sell thousands of copies each year to readers all over the world. I’ve had publishers purchase and produce my books in audio. I’ve sold story rights to foreign publishers. I love developing and telling stories. And I love teaching others how to do the same.

But when I started, years before that novel contract, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know where to start stories, how to develop them, or even where they were supposed to end. And I didn’t have anyone to really help me. In fact, I remember asking one of my creative writing professors after class how you knew where to end your story. He looked at me, shrugged, and said, “I don’t know. I just end them.”

What the heck?

It was all a vast mystery. I loved stories, but I was clueless about what they were, how they worked, and how someone went about developing and writing one. I had a lot of fun, enjoyed my writing teachers (they were all great people), but I was never able to write something that hung together and felt like something you’d see in a movie or read in a book.

But that didn’t discourage me. I kept at it. And over the years, I made a number of breakthroughs.

What I discovered was that there are three things you must learn to write killer stories. You must learn:

  • What stories do to the reader
  • How they do that
  • And effective techniques for both developing and telling the story

In this class, you’re going to learn those three things and the key principles for each, saving yourself all the frustration and discouragement that comes from trying to discover these insights by stumbling around on your own in the dark. With this class, you can cut years off the time it takes to learn how to write.

When you know these three things, you will be able to write stories on purpose, instead of by accident. You will have power over your craft.

You will see that instead of trying to remember a list of hundreds of “writing rules” or use “writing formulas,” many of which are nonsense, you’ll write by focusing on the simple and fundamental heart of what storytelling is all about.

Course Outline and Price

Below is a more detailed view of the course. My lessons are called quests because I’m expecting you to actually do something, not just watch.

Quest 1: Discover what stories do, then create your personal story profile

  • The three things you must learn to write killer stories
  • Your personal story type
  • The three main reader responses you must generate
  • The big secret: trigger and delay
  • Genre
  • Sensitizing yourself

Quest 2: Discover what you need at the core of your story, then perform a craft analysis of 2 of your favorite novels and report your findings

  • The story engine (without this, your story goes nowhere)
  • What makes characters interesting
  • The vital THOMR
  • The desire to gain or retain something specific
  • Formidable obstacles
  • Uncertainty
  • Surprise
  • The same but different
  • The 3 grunts

Quest 3: Discover the secret to developing ideas, then develop 10 fully-formed story ideas that beg to be written

  • The 4 main creative principles you must follow
  • 5 super productive techniques for generating ideas
  • Creating a schedule and goals
  • Using the story engine job aid
  • Using the setting job aid
  • Using the magic job aid
  • Using the world building job aid
  • Using the character job aid
  • Using the formidable obstacle job aid

Quest 4: Discover how to figure out what comes next, then develop your story sketch (outline)

  • The number of scenes for your story
  • The story cycle
  • Story turns
  • Trigger and delay
  • Structure, and why structure models so often fail to help

Quest 5: Discover how to transport your reader to the story, then write your first three chapters

  • Techniques for telling your story so it’s vivid and clear
  • Narrative summary versus narrative detail and when to use  each
  • Effective description
  • Writing point of view, hot and cold
  • Orienting the reader
  • Transitions

Quest 6: Discover the three main effects you should read for, then deliver a reader report for the first chapters of seven different novels

  • The 3 grunts (the secret that allows you to learn from other novels)
  • Reader report rules
  • How to get feedback for the rest of your project

Quest 7: Discover your next steps, then create a plan

  • Methods to write quickly
  • What you need to do to publish independently
  • What you need to do to publish with a traditional publisher

As you can see, in this course you aren’t going to just hear someone go on about theory. You’re going to define your type of story, surprise yourself by developing at least 10 solid story ideas that beg to be written (by you). Then you’ll select one of those ideas, sketch an outline, and write the first three chapters, all under my guidance, using the same practical, simple methods I use.

Most important of all, you’ll actually stop thinking about writing and be well on your way to finishing your novel with a clear path to the end.

Instead of dreaming about someday, you’ll enjoy the excitement of writing a novel right now.

The cost of the course depends on what you want:

  • Access to all of the videos: $199
  • Access to all of the videos and two rounds of coaching on your story idea, outline, and first three chapters $399

Not for everyone

Having said that, you need to know that this class is not for everyone. If you are not willing to actually make time to do the work I ask, you will find no benefit.

How much time will you need to spend?

With all of the videos, reading, and development you’ll do, you should expect to take 30-40 hours. You can move through it at your own pace, but I strongly suggest you spend at least five hours per week. Any less than that, and you’re going to find it very difficult to keep your creativity hot enough to make dinner.

Also, if possible, I recommend you take the course with a friend. You will progress so much more quickly when you discuss the lessons and insights and bounce your ideas off of each other.

If you want to just watch the videos, that’s perfectly fine. If you want to actually develop a story and learn on the job, then you have to make time to do this awesome thing, just as you would if you wanted to learn how to dance, quilt, race cars, rappel, or paraglide.

So if you aren’t in a position to make the time, I understand. Please don’t sign up.

But if you’re interested, then click below to raise your hand as someone who is definitely interested. Once I see there are enough people interested, you’ll get the class.

Yes, I’m definitely interested!

If you’re interested, let me know by filling out the form below.

This does not obligate you to anything. It simply says that you are almost 100% sure you want to take the class, barring earthquakes, plagues of demons, or crazy in-laws.

* indicates required



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4 Responses to The Novel Writers Academy – Do you want it?

  1. leahdon heimuli says:

    I would really love if you would start this up. This would help me further my writing so much, I’ve wanted to start a book and I have started it but i feel like this would help me further my progress and capability to create a book successfully. My former teacher Amy Lamborn said that she would recommend this for me highly. Please consider,

    Sincerely, Leahdon Heimuli

  2. John Brown says:

    Leahdon, thanks for expressing interest. As soon as we have enough people sign up like you did, I will create it. So if you know others who are like you and want to learn how to do this, let them know about it. If the decide it’s right for them, you’ll be that much closer to getting it 🙂

  3. jerry timothy says:

    I won’t be able to afford it right now. VERY tight budget, but I have really liked all the presentations I’ve heard you give.

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