Do you want to learn how to write a good story? One that people will want to read?
Pen & Paper is the answer. This course will teach you the craft of writing commercial fiction.
See below for general information about the course.
The Five W’s (and an H)
What are the Five W’s? They can be found in journalism, research, and more, and consist of the following: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
There are important questions that you should ask yourself (and be able to answer) with respect to writing and this course.
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. That is all.
It tells a story that people will want to read…and enjoy.
This is not a course in writing literary fiction. Literary fiction might win awards and be featured in literary journals, but not many people really read – or enjoy – the stuff. It is the stuff, and puff, and fluff of academics.
You should take this course if you have a fundamental grasp of the mechanics of writing. This is not a course in grammar, punctuation, or spelling.
There are two important what’s with respect to Pen & Paper. The first one is this: what do I get when I buy this course? Click here to find out.
The second is this: what will I be writing? This second question will be answered within the course. This what is going to 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).
Why should you take this course?
Hopefully, you are not taking this course with the hope of writing 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 in 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 take this course if you wish to learn the craft of writing. As a craft, it must be practiced. 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.
What are the other why’s?
Words have power. Tremendous power.
Words give us the ability to express our love.
“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night“
from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Words give us the courage to fight.
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!”
from Winston Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940.
Words have the power to create change.
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
from Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech
Words have the power to honor the dead.
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Words have the power to set us free.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
from The Declaration of Independence
We write because we are human and we feel. We write to express these feelings and emotions. We write to teach. We write to connect.
Words have power.
Your words. They should mean something too.
Should I take this course?
One way to evaluate the relative merit of this course is to see how I look at writing. It is useful for you, the potential student, to know how I, the teacher, look at writing and writers. You may not agree with how I assess writing. If you would like to see how I assess writing, then click here to go to the discernment page. You will have an opportunity to judge the quality of some quotes and compare your answers to mine.
Also, you will find more of these exercises within the course contents, so that you can continue your practice in assessing the quality of writing.
Some Questions to Consider
Below you will find some general questions (and my answers) about writing and how this course may prove beneficial to writers in search of a better understanding of writing commercial fiction.
What does it mean to be a writer?
A writer is someone who gets words on the page. It’s that simple. I am not suggesting that these words are worth reading, but you have to understand that writing – first and foremost – is about words on the page. If you are dithering about how to construct the perfect sentence or fiddling with finding le mot juste, then you aren’t writing. At least not much. And the less you write, the less people will read what you have written.
The activities and instruction provided in Pen & Paper are designed to help you more easily get words on the page.
How do you see yourself as a writer?
Ask yourself these two questions: Are you able to consistently get words on the page? Are you able to discern good writing from bad writing?
If the answer is “no”, then the writing prompts and discernment exercises will help you to be better at both.
Why is writing important?
Writing is a reflection of our age – the times that we currently live in. It is a record of who we are. For that reason alone, writing is important. However, writing can – and does – serve a larger purpose. Consider Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its impact on the American Civil War. Or consider how a good story can help a soul wile away a lazy summer afternoon. Or provide comfort. And so much more.
The course is designed to help you find your writing voice. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be heard (unless you’re writing maudlin trash – no one wants to read such stuff).
How important is the study of grammar (the mechanics of writing)?
You need to be able to effectively communicate your thoughts. If a reader has to stop and think about what you are trying to say because of issues with the mechanics of your writing, then you are going to struggle to keep the attention of your readers.
Buy Pen & Paper
Click here to purchase access to the course.
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?
There are additional benefits to the course. These are as follows: access to ghostwritten materials, private lessons in writing, updates to the course, resources for writers such as software, publishing, and marketing advice. These are only available to members of the course.
What Will I Learn?
The purpose of this course is to teach you the craft of writing commercial fiction. See below for a list of some of the ideas found in this course.
- Writing is a creative act. It is not an intellectual act.
- You should write like you speak.
- Being a writer means getting words on the page. You should understand how you best get words on the page.
- You should have a broad knowledge of history and culture.
- The three most important elements found in a good story are as follows: humanity, humor, and a happy ending.
What Materials Do I Need?
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), inluding headphones or a speaker to listen to the audio instruction