Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Online Writing Workshops: The Best Ones I've Taken and the Ones I Plan to Take

This week the Five Scribes wrote about the best Craft Books on our shelves. In keeping with the topic of improving our craft, I'd like you to meet Julie Rowe. Julie is a writer who has gone to exceptional lengths to learn the fiction business. Want proof? Read on. I think you'll understand why I asked Julie to blog about online courses today. Please welcome 2006 double Golden Heart finalist and freelance writer, Julie Rowe to the Five Scribes. ~ Donnell

I was thrilled when I was asked to guest blog about online writing workshops. I'm a passionate supporter/promoter of lifelong learning and believe that if one wants to be a good/great/outstanding writer, one must be constantly learning. My only problem is narrowing down my suggestions to a reasonable list. I want to recommend them ALL! LOL!

I've been taking writing classes online for more than eight years. Living in an isolated city in northern Alberta with the closest local chapter an eight-hour drive away means it's one of the only ways for me to learn my craft. I also teach classes online and promote online classes on my private Yahoo Groups list serve Announce Online Classes. During a typical month, I'm posting information on anywhere from 20 to 40 classes. So I've seen a lot of them that are absolutely awesome! Worth a whole lot more than the $5 to $40 most classes charge.

Here are a few of my top recommendations (in no particular order):

Mary Buckham's PACING: How to Craft a Page-Turning Manuscript in March 2009 through and her Synopsis master class for two weeks in May, 2009 through You can see Mary's complete class list and lecture packets on her website I've learned more about writing a book from Mary Buckham than I have from anyone else. Her pacing class is about soooo much more. I firmly believe every writer out there can benefit HUGELY from the class. And her synopsis class is nothing short of miraculous!

Laurie Schnebly Campbell's Challenging Couples in Love in November 10-21, 2008 through and her His Personality Ladder in January 7-27, 2009 ($25) through You can see Laurie's complete class list on her website Laurie Schnebly Campbell is one of my favorite instructors of all time. She never talks around the point, she talks TO the point. She delivers highly informative classes that impact many areas of writing. You're getting a bargain when you take a class from Laurie.

Margie Lawson's Digging Deep Into the EDITS System October 13 - 26, 2008 through You can see her complete class list and lecture packets on her website Margie Lawson is simply amazing. This class single- handedly taught me more about editing in two weeks than I had learned in the previous five years. TAKE THIS CLASS.

I'm really looking forward to New York Times Bestselling Author Allison Brennan's From the Call to the Career Author: A Writer's Business Journey in November 3-28, 2008 through I haven't sold yet, but I want to be prepared when I do to handle things as they come. It would be great to know what I should expect. This class is definitely on my not-to-be-missed list.

CJ Lyons is another dynamic instructor with a class coming up in November 2008 called Thrillers with Heart through I really enjoy CJ's classes, she's thorough, patient and informative. Her background as a doctor also means she can answer all those pesky medical questions.

Gregory K. Moffatt, Ph.D. is offering a fascinating class called Stone Cold Killers in November 2008 through If you write thrillers, this is a must-take class.

Angela Knight is slated to teach Action Sequences in April, 2009 through Not only is she a bestselling author, she's a phenomenal instructor.

Lori Wilde's High Concept class in February 2009 and her Critique Class in March, 2009 through her own list serve are nothing short of fabulous. With a cap on the number of students, you get serious personalized instruction and feedback that, for me, took my writing to a whole new level.

Robin Perini and Laura Baker teach a marvelous series of workshops called Discovering Story Magic -- Introduction , Advanced and Master workshops plus Turning Points. They will be offering these classes through in 2009.

Believe it or not this is just the tip of the online class iceberg. If you'd like to have an even wider choice of classes to choose from, consider joining my online class announcements loop. I don't allow author promotion or harvesting of e-mails, the list is there for ONE reason, to keep writers informed of classes available, and any writer may join. To join, just send an e-mail to:

Cheers, Julie Rowe.

Julie Rowe has been writing medically inclined romances for more than ten years. Her freelance articles have appeared in The Romance Writer's Report, Canadian Living, Today's Parent, Reader's Digest (Canada) and other magazines.


Lori Wilde said...


You deserve all the credit for the growth in your writing. You did all the work. I know you're going to publish a book very, very soon and you'll probably sell several projects at once. Best of luck!


Mary Buckham said...

Julie ~~

Many thanks for the kudos **blush** but even bigger thanks for all that you're doing to encourage other writers to write. Online classes can act as a Godsend, especially to those writers isolated or up against a particular speed bump in their writing. Many times for less than $1.00 a day one can find the answers somewhere. Gold stars to you for your Announce loop that makes accessing the wide array of courses easy and I highly recommend writers and wanna-be writers to sign up sooner rather than later.

Take care and happy writing ~~ Mary B :-)

CJ Lyons said...

Julie, thanks so much for the kind words about my Thriller class. I think that one of the best things I've discovered in transitioning from medicine to writing full time is that I can still indulge my love of teaching.

Part of that love is that with every class I teach, I learn so much from my students! Thanks for helping to spread the word about all the wonderful classes out there!


Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Oh, gosh, talk about a wonderful lineup -- Julie, it's so cool seeing your "best of the best" and being in the same company as those fabulous teachers!

I hope you'll keep the announcement list going even when you're selling novels, because having a one-stop source for classes is SUCH a convenience...thanks for doing that!

Laurie, looking forward to "Voice" at National

Edie said...

I've taken Laurie and Margie's classes, and second what you say. I know Allison, and she's so wise about the publishing business. Mary Buckham was on one of the AskAnAuthor loops and she was terrific.

Thanks for the great recommendations. It looks like I'll be taking some new classes. :)

Liz L. said...

Julie, great list. I'll check them out. I am right in the middle of an online class designed to teach us how to use our websites as a better marketing tool. It's really the first online class I've taken and so far, it's fabulous.

Thanks again.

Julie Rowe said...

Lori, Mary, CJ and Laurie (and anyone else who teaches others) - You provide instruction, mentorship and encouragement to so many writers; no matter where they live, no matter where they are in their writing careers.

The value of what you do is priceless, and I'm humbled by your dedication to your art, the development of craft and your service to others.


Julie Rowe said...

Hi Edie, thanks for stopping by!

There are soooo many great classes available I have to limit myself to the number I take (no more than 3 at a time). I tried doing 4, but it was just too much! :-)

Cheers, Julie

Donnell said...

Julie, and all of our fabulous experts and guests, thanks for stopping by. Three classes at once, Juls? I bow in awe ; once in a while I have to sleep LOL) And I agree with Lori, no one has as much stick-to-it-tiveness as you do. I loved reading your work from the first day we met and I still do. You're the consummate pro. Thanks again for being with us today, Julie.

Julie Rowe said...

Hi Liz, congrats on taking your first online class! They're such a huge value for your dollar - and a great learning experience. :-)


Cheers, Julie

Nia said...

Hi Julie,

Great blog! You're a walking ad for online classes because I've read a tiny bit of your work and am blown away. I joined RWA a year and 9 months ago and I can't believe what a bargain the online classes I've discovered are. I started with Dianne Despain's Beginning Romance Writing and it was awesome! I kept running around the house saying to my DH, "Honey, this class is amazing. And it's only 20 bucks. Can you believe it?" (I'd spent a bundle over the years on expensive writers conferences but that's backstory I learned not to put in until after 10% of the book from the Kills, Thrills and Chills class taught by CJ Lyons. Very good class.) Laurie Schnebly Campbell presented Motivation and Plot at my local chapter in Silicon Valley. She managed to elucidate how to develop interlocking character motivations, character arc setbacks and then how to deliver the big character transformation. I'm in Lori Wilde's Crit class for the second time now. She's changed my life! This class was something I had been desperately wanting because I would learn things in classes, then apply them, then not be able to get feedback on how I implemented it. I felt I had made it to a plateau and needed professional help with my actual writing. Lori will read a whole MS! I never had that much done, but she read lots of my stuff and gave me the kind of feedback we can expect from our future editors. She helped me with the plot marketability too, helped me break down the plots of my target line and then think about how to make my book have those hooks. Best of all was having her look at my actual manuscript. She helped me advance off that plateau.

Funny, I just started RWA, just about, and I seemed to have signed up for all the right stuff!! Good guidance from others and some good luck too.

All these teachers are incredibly generous. I was writing in a lonely vacuum for 6 years before joining RWA. I can't believe how much I've learned in just over a year and a half, not only about writing but about the business. Best of all is the support from aspiring and published authors alike. Three cheers for our online writing teachers!

Julie Rowe said...

Hi Nia,

Thanks so much for your comments! I'm so glad you've found the classes you've taken to be of such great benefit. :-) They're such a powerful vehichle of learning, and you get to meet great people at the same time. :-)

Cheers, Julie

Margie Lawson said...

Julie and ALL --

What Lori said, what Mary said, What CJ said, what Laurie said, what Edie, Liz, Donnell, Nia said . . .

You're all brilliant!

JULIE -- Thank you for the time, energy, and brain cells you put into your online announcement service. You are appreciated!

Back to creating lectures for the new course I teach next week. :-)))

All smiles.............Margie

Delta Dupree said...

Julie, what a list from a fantastic lady and storywriter! I intend to join your yahoo group. Every little bit helps.