Welcome back to the Fiction Reboot!
Sometimes we all need a little writing advice. I teach writing, and even I must seek out the sage wisdom of my colleagues and fellow authors and teachers. The writing class and workshop has always been a go-to, but not everyone has time to dedicate. Luckily for us, the age of technology has offered additional outlets. Today I am happy to present the work of Beth Daniels, author and online workshop leader. Thank you, Beth, for your contribution to the writing life!
The first time Beth Daniels realized she knew more about writing genre fiction than she’d thought was when someone in a Romance Writers of America chapter asked her a question and the answer rattled out of its own accord.
Or so it seemed. That was back in the 1990s when her first novels were published. Tales that had relied on Beth reading a lot of genre fiction and, after shedding a few tears when rejections for her own manuscripts arrived thoughout the 1980s, taking the suggestions given by the encouraging editors who rejected her work. So, in many ways, she taught herself the craft. There were no such things as a gazillion online workshops back then, or writers conferences, and creative writing classes in both non-credit and credit venues tended to have everyone sitting around reading things out loud and getting spur of the minute feedback — something she didn’t find helpful at all. There were some helpful books, but they appeared to all be written by people who preplanned everything that would happen and Beth was an organic writer (or Pantser) long before the term came into being.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the digital revolution with the expanded Internet and the availabilities for information gathering. By this time Beth had written for seven publishing houses under four different names, spinning stories of romantic-suspense, romantic-comedy, historical romantic adventure, and young adult romantic-comedy based on a TV show (Saved By The Bell). She’d collected a BA in American History with a minor in British and a MA in Composition and Rhetoric with an emphasis in Creative Writing — she already had 9 books in print and contracts for more, so she was more published than the professors, which meant they frequently asked her to field questions they couldn’t answer about genre books. She began teaching at a community college, including a Novel Writing class where students told her it was refreshing to have a teacher say they wrote for money. Well, why not? Great men with pens in their hands had already claimed only a fool didn’t write for money.
In looking for a new outlet, Beth stumbled upon the emerging market for online workshops just as she was putting the academic world behind her to become a full time caregiver to her ailing parents. It began with one course (PLOTTING FOR PANTSERS) in the fall of 2010 and exploded after that. Inadvertently she became an expert in Steampunk (from reading lots of it) then was asked to do a year long workshop in which students would hopefully finish a novel, and another one six months long that concentrated on writing Steampunk — all online.
She wrote over 300,000 words in lectures for 4-wk and 1-wk workshops in 2011 and over 459,000 for them in 2012. In 2011 she expanded on the workshop lectures for WRITING STEAMPUNK, the first non-fiction book she’d ever written (and has an update, second edition on the burner for 2013) then turned to compiling what became MUSE TO MANUSCRIPT: WRITE A NOVEL. Her style of delivery has been called light, breezy, funny, and as giving the info seeking writer the feeling that they are sitting across the kitchen table from her just talking about writing.
What MUSE TO MANUSCRIPT is really about is writing for the mass market, the genre market, doing so by tossing out “protagonist” in favor of hero or heroine and “antagonist” in favor of villain, which could be a circumstance rather than a person. Knowing word count. Thinking action to reaction with chapter closes that have a reader wanting to read “just one more chapter”. The most complimentary thing any reader ever said to her, as far as Beth is concerned, was growled by a co-worker who read her first book. “You rat,” they said. “Your damn book kept me up last night because I had to find out what happened. Do you know what time of morning I have to be here at work?!”
No higher praise could be given.
Currently Beth Daniels has had 28 novels, 2 non-fiction tomes, a couple short stories and numerous articles about writing fiction published by a variety of publishing houses and in e-zines. She went into Independent Publishing when the rights of her backlist began returning to her. Her online workshop repetoire consists of over 60 classes with the 2013 scheduling offering 45 presentations…some showing up twice. With workshops, non-fiction and caregiving to distract her, novel production has slowed down but she’s interested in switching from her previous romance roots into mystery and fantasy and is breaking in a couple new pseudonyms to use when those manuscripts are ready to fly from the nest.
- MUSE TO MANUSCRIPT: WRITE A NOVEL
- SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A NOVEL: A GUIDE TO WRITING YOUR FIRST BOOK
- A WEEK ‘TIL THE WEDDING
- LOVING TRIXIE FINE
- AUNTIE MOMMIE
- “The Dragon’s Tale”
- WRITING STEAMPUNK
Also released for Nook:
- Seducing Santa, Ring in the New,
- Mr. Angel. Mr. Far from Perfect,
- Nikrova’s Passion, Arden’s Touch,
- At Twilight, Paramour, Lucky
- “Creative Ideas to get Pantsers Over a Writer’s Block Wall”
- “How2 Dissect Romance Novels”
- DESPERATE MEASURES