If you are a writer, then you know that writing a novel is hard work
Writing can be a great pleasure, a sacred calling, and one's life's work. However, doubt and writer's block are no fun at all.
When you are working on a novel, there are endless little decisions to make, page by page, and progress is slow.
It's not like creating a blog post or short poem.
If you are writing a book, for instance, and you're twenty-thousand words into the manuscript, you can't just force yourself to keep going.
Even if you say really harsh, unpleasant things to yourself, you still won't be able to use willpower to get yourself to the end.
Even if you cancel all other commitments for a long weekend, drop your phone down a well, travel to an isolated mountain lodge, and draft three thousand great words -- well, you'll still have at least another forty-thousand words left to go. And now you have to buy a new phone.
In other words, this the kind of work that can be hard to fit into real life. If you are anything like me, you have work and family and life responsibilities, and these all take up time. If you are not a hermit in a cave who is followed around by a team of eager assistants, it can seem impossible to keep devoting time to a book.
And while, in theory, you have unlimited time to finish your book, self-belief is frail. Eventually you start to wonder what you are doing, and whether you are really a "writer."
That's why I created this course
Now, there are a lot of ways to get help with your book. And I should know: I've studied with great teachers.
In most of those classes, we brought in chapters of our novel drafts. We gave each other feedback on those chapters. And the instructor tried to sum up everyone's advice and give tips on how to write the rest of the book.
It was a fantastic learning experience. But it wasn't really what I wanted.
The problem was this: it left the actual "writing" part of "writing a book" largely up to the student. The deal with the class was this: you produce the work, we will critique. This left the work of producing the pages something of a mystery.
Instead, I wanted a class that was about writing. How to create a book. How to sit down and get typing. How to learn how to make good decisions and avoid pitfalls. How to figure out what should be in my book and what was excessive, unnecessary, problematic.
That's what this course offers: it gives you plentiful feedback (both one-on-one and group discussion) and helps you set goals and stay accountable. But that's only part of what you'll learn here. The course is ultimately about something larger and more important: it will teach you the skill of writing quickly.
The goal is here is to become comfortable and relaxed when writing a new book, and to build up the ability to write that book fast.
This course will try to persuade you that the way you write when you are happiest is the best way to write, and that worrying about too many things is damaging your ability to finish your book.
But this course isn't a mad dash where we hammer keys until, exhausted and numb, we have typed a lot of words.
It will teach you a step-by-step system for sketching out and then rapidly drafting a book. You will be able to use that system to write (quickly) any number of books after this one.
That's the transformation this course is offering: to become the kind of writer who can write a book quickly and confidently.
Take this course to:
"Not all good writers are good teachers, but Daniel David Wallace (a talented, thoughtful writer himself) is a terrific instructor. Even when leading a class with multiple participants, he gives each student individualized attention.
A working writer himself, Daniel also addresses the realities of publishing and strategies for reaching readers.
If you can take a class with him, do it!"
- Julia Brown, author and editor
"Daniel truly has a gift. He’s one of the most patient and encouraging teachers I’ve had, and he continued to be patient and encouraging even after I made him read an almost 10,000 word outline. (Yeah. I know. That alone should tell you how above and beyond he goes for his students.) He gives the type of feedback that energizes rather than discourages, the kind that makes you feel like you can rebuild your novel—and rebuild it stronger.
I came away from this course not only with an incredibly detailed novel plan but also the lifelong skills to talk about how and why stories work. While I wish I could have Daniel around forever to bounce ideas off, I feel empowered to plan many more stories going forward."
- Allison Saft, YA author
Can I... write a book... fast?
If you have never written a book before, or if you have written one before (but it took years of pain and despair), or if you have completed a draft before but didn't like the result, you may wonder if you can really write a (good) book in three months.
This is an understandable concern. When I speak to writers, I often hear people saying that they struggle with staying focused, keeping themselves to a single project, or starting to doubt whether their inspiration is worth getting down on the page. People also talk about being stuck at the first chapter, unsure how to get started.
This course, therefore, offers you a three-pronged approach to writing your book -- actually writing your book -- and making rapid progress.
Firstly, I'm going to offer you a simple structure for your book, so that it won't be stressful to write the first 10,000 words. I imagine for most of my readers, this book will be a novel, so I will offer a short and simple guide to plotting the opening of a novel. But I know other writers are working on a memoir or a short story collection, so I will also offer a simple guide to writing those books fast, too.
So you don't have to worry so much about getting stuck.
Secondly, we going to study a series of techniques for writing faster. We're going to try out a series of techniques in the early weeks of the course, so that every participant in the course can work out which writing process works best for them personally.
Part of these techniques will involve streamlining and simplifying your book: I'll show you how easy it is to incorporate problematic elements and nearly unsolveable puzzles into an idea for a book -- and how to spot these danger signs, remove the worst trouble-makers, and build a simpler, better plan without them.
And then we're going to support each other and encourage each other to keep going. Every week you can check into the discussion group, see how much your fellow writers produced, and set yourself a goal for the week.
Thirdly, you're going to speak to me, one-on-one, three times during the course. We'll have a quick 30 minute conversation at the start of each month to plan out what you will be working on. I will offer supportive, affirming, and concrete advice.
Wait. Why is there one-on-one coaching?
I want you to get amazing results from this course. And I have found that there is no substitute for talking to a coach one-on-one: it's completely different from just reading a textbook or exchanging comments in a group discussion. Through these conversations, I will help you stay on track and made good artistic decisions. I will help connect the videos and worksheets with your specific project.
So... if thirty people join this course, you, Daniel, will have to call thirty people at the start of each month, for three months in a row?
Hell yeah! I can't want to talk to you all. It's true, my wife and I may need to hire extra babysitting, but I'm excited to help you get writing.
Am I supposed to write for three months without a break? What if I want to visit Disney World?
My goal is to help you write your book. I'm going to be paying attention to the group, watching to see if people are getting tired. In the past, I've adjusted the pace of my courses based on student feedback, and I'm thinking that, if people want it, we might have a "spring break" during the course, where we take some days off, and then come back refreshed. Additionally, we will have at least one "sprint week," where we will all try to write as fast as we can -- this will help you catch up if you have fallen behind.
It's 2018. It's time to write your book.
The components of this course
My "double" guarantee
I want this course to be a great writing experience for you.
That's why I'm offering a "double" guarantee. As you'll see below, I have a no-questions-asked money back guarantee. Not happy for any reason? Just tell me within thirty days and I'll process your refund.
However, while that sort of (standard, typical) guarantee is nice, it won't help you actually write your book. And I really want you to write your book.
So I'm offering another guarantee, on top of that one.
Here's the second guarantee: it's for people who take the course to the end.
If you get to the end of the three months, and you've had a great time, and you've learned amazing skills, and you feel like a much happier, stronger writer, BUT still -- for whatever reason -- you feel like you didn't make quite enough progress on your actual draft as you hoped -- if you haven't written as many words as you planned, in other words -- just let me know.
You won't need to justify it or explain what happened.
You might simply send me an email saying, "Daniel, I'm still writing."
Then, when the course has wrapped up, I will offer you extra coaching and another two weeks of writing guidance (for free). In other words, that's the extra guarantee: if you enjoyed the course, but wish you had a little more time, I will happily give you that time. And offer advice and support.
Now, I don't think you will need this guarantee. I think we are all going to write a huge amount on this course. Still, I want this to be the best writing experience you've ever had. That's why I'm double guaranteeing it!
Why is this a "beta" price?
I work with many great writers as an online teacher and individual writing coach. This course is the result of those sessions: I noticed that many, many people wanted to write a book, but the busy-ness of normal life made it hard for them to focus and work consistently.
This is something I completely understand! As a father of a small baby, a University lecturer, the editor in chief of a literary press, and the walker of two dogs, I know that real life can be all but overwhelming.
That's where the idea for the course came from. If you can find between 30 minutes to an hour each day to give to your book (or a couple of longer sessions each week), I can help you finish it. My goal is to show you how to write more freely, more easily, and with less time lost feeling stuck.
However, although I am confident my approach can help writers, I have found in the past that the pacing and timing of a course like this can be hard to get exactly right out the first time around. Even writing quickly, I couldn't imagine a normal person completing a full draft of a novel or memoir in under three months. Perhaps it will take people a little longer, or perhaps the group would move even faster than I imagined.
That's why I decided to run it once as a "beta," to work with a small group of writers and see what sort of writing pace made sense for the group. My plan was to offer it once, for a maximum of 35 writers, to ensure I had the time to work with everyone and see them make enormous progress.
The next time I offer it again, it will cost at least $997. If you sign up now, for a writing experience beginning at the end of January 2018, you will get the full course at a reduced price.
"Daniel was as good an editor as one could ever wish for. In fact, he went way over what I expected, sorting my good poems from my ordinary ones, suggesting small revisions and cuts, helping me organize my book... I don't know how he was able to give me so much time and attention, but he did, and I am grateful. Daniel has a good eye and a very good ear."
- Bill Buege, Poet, author of Stumble Into a Lighted Room
Hi! I'm Daniel. I help writers of all levels plan, draft, and revise their novels. I create simple, easy-to-implement techniques that help you master the craft of fiction.
This is the benefit of being a professional writing coach and a PhD researcher: I take complex ideas and present them in their clearest, most essential form. Thousands of writers have signed up for my free courses on style, plotting, and finding one's voice.
I'm a British writer living in Tennessee with three dogs, a cat, my brilliant wife, my very lively two-year-old son, and a Honda Odyssey mini-van.
My stories and essays have been published in many literary journals. I am the editor in chief of Burlesque Press, and I've co-hosted writing conferences such The Hands On Literary Festival in New Orleans and the Young Writers conference in Knoxville.
"Daniel respected my work and vision on a profound level but also had a keen editorial eye and a stroke of literary genius that took everything I’d written to the next level.
Daniel was immensely patient, comforting, and encouraging -- is it weird that I think of him as my literary midwife? Because I totally do."
- Tawni Waters, I.L.A. award-winning author of The Beauty of the Broken, The Long Ride Home, and Siren Song
"He’s legitimately an expert who has unique and helpful information to share."
- Eva Langston, Book blogger and author