"With Daniel's scene instruction workshop, I was able to write more quickly and competently. He created a path for writing my chapters. Using his scene maps, I understood the scene I was crafting and how it functioned within the framework of my novel. I could focus on both the narrative and character arcs simultaneously.
I wish I had taken a class like this sooner. I would've been a better novelist and my short story production would've been much larger."
- John Vurro, writer
This course is for you
Tell me if this is familiar: you've been writing for a while, but you haven’t seen the results you always hoped for.
You have some ideas for a book, and you’ve made plans, and you’ve worked hard, but for whatever reason, the novel you would like to create just hasn't made it on to the page yet.
Perhaps you've started writing your book, but you didn't know how to stay on track, or you made good progress for a while and then became stuck.
You may also have felt alone and unsupported as you tried to make revisions, feeling confused as you attempted to figure out what worked and what didn't.
This can start to feel maddening and frustrating. Friends and family start to ask when you’re going to finish your novel. It can be so embarrassing to be the person always dreaming of writing a book.
Even looking at the “new releases” shelf in a bookshop can feel like a personal attack.
But it can also feel exhausting to keep bringing chapters to your writing circle or workshop, and keep hearing negative, lukewarm, or indifference responses.
Does that sound familiar?
If so, well, you are in good company.
Writing a book is hard.
I know because I struggled for a long time to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. I brought excerpts of two novels to multiple workshops, and while I got good advice, I kept thinking there had to be a better way to learn the craft.
Of course, like most writers, I read lots of how-to-write books. I devoured guides to plotting and structure. I discovered that "x" was supposed to happen on page twenty of my book. And yet I still feel unsure how to begin. After all my reading, my perspective still seemed incomplete.
Because -- even if you know that "x" should happen on page twenty -- what should go on page one? What about page two?
And how was I supposed to introduce my dozen characters in order to get to "x" on page twenty? Worst of all, what happened if I wrote out "x," and it just seemed kind of implausible, kind of boring, kind of opaque?
Often we writers give up because we feel like we are doing it wrong, and we don't know how to do it right.
When I talk to writers, and I ask them what their biggest obstacle is, the most common response (by far) is losing confidence. Aspiring writers just start to feel like they are lost, sliding off track, and that the story isn't coming together.
Then I began my PhD in creative writing. I studied narrative form and theories of reader-response. I pulled from library shelves dusty craft textbooks with peculiar titles. And I researched how people actually learn.
I developed a simple, effective system to get novelists writing. As you'll see from the testimonials on this page, the system works.
"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.
His courses are chock full of useful information and his methodical narrative-building technique—his approach is specific and yet flexible enough to accommodate whatever genre you might be working in.
Daniel is attentive to plot, structure, character, and other high-level narrative elements, but you’ll appreciate his ability to zoom in closely on language and sentence-level concerns.
If you can take a class with him, do it!"
- Julia Brown, author and fiction editor
In this course, Write Your Book Now, we're going to do three things.
1. I'm going to show you how to write fiction that, page by page, feels like a good story. You won't have to ask yourself if you are writing something dull or confusing: you'll introduce characters already in motion, in a clear and intriguing setting, who get slowly enmeshed in a gripping plot. Your novel will calmly and confidently hook your readers' attention.
(PS Some of this may require you to re-think how narration is supposed to work in your novel. In my experience, many writers make things much harder for themselves by narrating in a vague or opaque way, or by presenting the wrong sort of information to the reader at the start.)
2. I'm going to help you outline, scene by scene, your novel's opening section. Once we have discussed and practised how to write dramatic, well-narrated, fascinating scenes, then we will sit down together and sketch out the first six or so scenes.
Different writers seem to prefer different levels of help here: for some people, I simply advise where they can raise the stakes and focus the action -- but I am perfectly happy to listen to your vision for the story, take your ideas for your plot, and outline those first six scenes for you.
Before we talk on the phone, I'll show you several options for different types of novel openings -- "scene sequences" -- and you can either adapt one of them for your story, or ask me to produce a new one just for you.
3. Then we're actually going to get writing. I don't want to simply explain some ideas to you: I want to see you make serious progress. That's why the course is three months long.
We will write as a group, encouraging each other and offering support, and we will write as small teams within the group, trying to complete each week's short set of tasks.
This isn't a merely theoretical course, in other words: instead, we're going to spend the majority of the three months writing our books. I will help you break the project down into small sections, and each week, you will see yourself writing smoothly, and writing well.
I will be available to help out in private webinars, in timed "write-a-longs" that even busy people will be able to participate in, and I'll be present in our group forum, offering feedback and giving out new assignments.
PS Can you begin and finish a book in three months? Definitely. And if you want to do that, we can. It will be a fantastic writing experience. But my impression, so far, is that the writers who take this course prefer to work at a less intense pace, and in practice we end up settling on deadlines that fit into everyone's busy lives.
Once you have completed the course, you will be invited to the "graduate" group, where you can continue to apply the skills you've learned and work to finish your novel.
"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
You won't do it alone
You will talk to me one-on-one, and I will literally plot out the opening of your novel for you, if you want. At the start of the course, I will call you and we will create a detailed plan for the first six scenes of the story.
You will have the support of 3-4 other team mates, what I'm calling a "drafting team."
These team members will help you sketch out your plot and respond to the worksheets.
Plus you will get feedback and encouragement from the group as a whole.
We will have a group forum, just for the writers on this course.
"Daniel’s courses have all the hallmarks of college level coursework: solid foundations, good habit-building, and practical study aids."
- D. Pease, author
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!
"Daniel was as good an editor as one could ever wish for. In fact, he went way over what I expected... 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, author of Stumble Into a Lighted Room
Daniel David Wallace is a writing coach, novelist, and editor.
Daniel recently completed a PhD in the craft of fiction. He spent those busy four years studying how to teach writers how to create better stories -- and with less stress.
Thousands of writers have signed up for his online courses on style, plotting, and finding one's voice. His novel-in-progress is represented by the literary agency Inkwell Management, and as the editor in chief of Burlesque Press, he has edited and published award-winning authors. With his brilliant wife, he created and co-hosted The Hands On Literary Festival, an annual conference in New Orleans for writers, readers, and scholars.
"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