It's your dream to write fiction and to write it to the best of your ability.
Perhaps you've started and stopped a hundred times and can't seem to see these through to the finish. Possibly you have great ideas for characters but can't seem to find their story. Or maybe you've got the story, but your characters feel flat to you. Maybe you have completed manuscripts on your hard drive but haven't been able to break into publishing yet.
I'm here to help you achieve your dream.
For more than twenty years, I've been traveling the nation and the world teaching writers just like you how to put together excellent works of fiction, whether they be novels, short stories, or even screenplays.
And my five fiction craftsmanship books for Writer's Digest have been successfully used by writers all over the world and in any genre you can imagine.
Fiction Academy is an eight-hour, 34-video download of my best teaching on writing fiction. We start with the kernel of an idea, flesh it out into characters and story structure, write the thing with skillful craftsmanship, and pave the way to publication.
With my encouraging manner and humorous style, this series will leave you feeling equipped and motivated to not only write your stories but to do so at a higher level than you've ever before achieved.
Your dreams of fiction success lie inside Fiction Academy. Start your journey today.
An exercise to put this material into practice.
In Part 1, you'll learn how to choose a core temperament for your main character. This is what will make each of your characters realistic and distinct from one another.
Once you pick your character's temperament, you'll learn:
Special bonus: Enjoy "CharPick," Jeff's software utility that instantly creates minor characters for your fiction (Windows PC only)
In Part 2, you'll learn how to build your characters, layer by layer, over the core temperament. This is how you make each character distinctive even within his or her temperament. For example, an INTJ character who grew up in a wealthy British home will seem very different, even if the same at the core, from an INTJ who grew up in the trailer parks of Kentucky.
Master this for each character:
Special bonus: Enjoy Jeff's interactive character-creation system, "Character Creation for the Plot-First Novelist," a $15 value.
In Part 3, you'll master the character's voice, which is the final culmination of this person's temperament, life events, culture, intelligence, and everything else.
The crown of your process is to synthesize these elements in the graduation exercises provided in the video. When these are done, you're ready to bring this character onstage for your story.
Fiction is about someone who changes. Watching a person go through some difficult series of events and come through it changed is one of the main reasons we come to fiction in the first place.
In Part 1, you'll gain an overview of the inner journey and you'll learn how to choose the main character's "knot," the problem that is hurting him and that the whole story has come along to make him deal with.
The culmination of your hero's inner journey is his or her moment of truth.
In Part 2, you'll:
Part 3 culminates the inner journey and brings it all together. The focus this time is the escalation, the heart of the inner journey, and bringing the journey to a brilliant conclusion.
People don't change until it hurts too much to stay the same, so in the escalation phase of the inner journey, you'll bring the pain.
In Part 3, you'll also:
A novel does not consist only of a protagonist and plot points. There are other tools and topics to take advantage of.
You've got your main character ready, but into what sort of story are you going to put that person?
In Part 1, you'll take hold of these ingredients that go into the stew for your plot:
You'll explore ideas beyond your original thought, until you find the one that best amplifies the hero's inner journey.
In Part 2, you'll learn how to take advantage of these ingredients for your plot stew:
There's a single process you can do to make sure your story feels satisfying to the reader, hits all the waypoints a story needs, and moves to a thrilling conclusion. It's called three-act structure.
In Part 1, you'll learn:
Special bonus: Get your free copy of Jeff's plot-creation resource, "How To Find Your Story," a $15 value!
In Part 2, you'll learn the components of a powerful Act 3. You'll identify the four components of Act 3 and learn how to bring your story to a thrilling conclusion.
Possibly the single greatest aspect of fiction craftsmanship that will make your novel either publishable and powerful or unpublishable and ineffective is show vs. tell. You've heard teachers say show, don't tell, but my guess is you've never heard it explained this well or in a way that gives you this much success in actually applying it to your own fiction.
In Part 2, you'll gain:
Once you understand what telling is and what it does, it's time to start figuring out how to spot it in your own fiction and in the fiction of others.
Part 3 is chock full of exercises that will give you mastery over this uber-important aspect of fiction craftsmanship.
Part 4 reveals:
Ponit of view (POV) refers to whose eyes we're seeing the story through.
In Part 1, you'll learn:
Point of view errors are one of the leading reasons agents and editors reject fiction manuscripts. Let's make sure that doesn't happen to you.
In Part 2, you'll learn:
Some agents and editors skip everything in your proposal and go straight to some dialogue passage in your sample chapters. If it's not fantastic, that may be the end of your opportunity.
In Part 1, you'll learn the four secrets of great dialogue. Great dialogue is:
Dialogue is where your strengths as a novelist will show. To make your dialogue great:
In Part 2, you'll learn these and more tips to maximize your dialogue's potential.
The central goal of any artist is to take the vision he had in his mind and use some medium--music, oil paints, dance, or fiction--to cause the same vision to be received in the mind of the audience. When it comes to fiction, your primary tool to make this happen is description.
Part 1 hits these points:
When you have any major scene, the reader needs to be able to picture it. For those scenes, you need to give "the full workup" to describe the setting.
The components of the full workup description for a setting are:
In Part 3, we cover some terrific exercises to improve your description:
Anyone can start a novel, but it takes a real man or a real woman to actually finish one. Even the most seasoned novelists sometimes lose momentum halfway through.
Here are some top tips to see the thing through to "The End":
Special bonus: Read Jeff's humorous piece, "The Horrific But True Phases of Writing a Novel."
In Part 2, we'll cover the reasons to write a novel.
And once you've finished it, use these resources to perfect it:
For most people, publishing companies can seem like mysterious black boxes. They seem to make decisions according to no logic the outsider can discern. This can be frustrating to the writer trying to break in.
Conversely, understanding what goes on inside publishing houses can not only bring insight to the author but also give strategies for how to help those poor souls inside the publishing companies better do what it is they're trying to do.
To shine light into these black boxes, we'll cover the steps that a book goes through on its way to publication:
The book then goes on the production schedule, and that's when the full publishing company is mobilized around this new title they're producing.
While many other things are happening simultaneously, the edit is going on:
Simultaneously with and/or following the edit, the publishing house's other departments are working on their own aspects of the book's development:
Publishing houses are like any other company in the sense that they need to make money. They're like a factory, in that they move a "widget" (in this case, your book) through the whole production line in order to bring it to market. And they're like any other business in the sense that they're full of good but fallible people trying their best and making decisions that, if you were in their shoes, you'd probably make in exactly the same way.
Before we get into what exactly goes into a great fiction proposal, we'll cover how a proposal is used within publishing companies and what mindset you therefore need to have as you prepare yours.
In Part 1, you'll learn:
With all that understood, it's time to look at what goes into a killer fiction proposal.
In Part 2, we'll cover:
In Part 3, you'll master:
When you’re truly ready to make your fiction publishable, it’s time to call Jeff Gerke. Jeff trains novelists how to better do what it is they’re trying to do. He trains through his books for Writers Digest: The Irresistible Novel, Plot Versus Character, The First 50 Pages, Write Your Novel in a Month, and The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction.
Jeff trains through the many writers’ conferences he teaches at all over the country every year. He trained his authors when he ran Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, which he sold after an award-winning 5-year run. And he trains through the freelance editing he does for his clients.
Jeff is known for his brilliantly clear teaching style, his humor, his canny book doctoring skills, and his encouraging manner, all of which leave writers feeling empowered and like they really can do this thing after all.
He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and three children.