Novel in a Year Class

2019 IS FULL. WE ARE NOW SIGNING UP FOR 2020.

Instructor: Richard Thomas
Email: writingwithrichard@gmail.com
Skype: richardgthomas3
Class Hours: Fourth Thursday of each month, 3 hours, 7:00 to 10:00 PM CST.
Length: 52 Weeks
Class Size: 8 students

COURSE STATEMENT:

Are you ready to take the next step? I constantly talk about writing short stories, finding your voice, and developing as an author. That’s all very important. But the end goal for many of us is to write a novel (hopefully LOTS of novels). That’s probably the best way to access innovative small presses, and the most common path to acquiring an agent, and landing at one of the big five publishers (and selling your film rights). This class will cover pre-writing (development), writing, editing, and submitting. The end goal is to have a novel over 66,000 words by the end of the year. Not only have I written three novels, but I’ve edited and helped other authors get their work published. The reason I’m teaching this class is to be there to help others go through the process—surrounded by talented peers, and with a safety net and published author to help guide, nudge, push, and advise.

COURSE OBJECTIVE:

To outline, write, edit, and submit a novel in one year.

I’d add PUBLISH here, but we all know the submission process can take months, or even a year (or longer) not to mention the editing, marketing, design, and promotion that will come once you’ve sold that book.

BOOKS REQUIRED:

None. But if you’re looking for good books on the craft, here are my four favorites: On Writing by Stephen King, Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass, Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer, and Thrill Me! by Benjamin Percy.

OVERVIEW:

There are two ways you can come to this class—with a novel written, or not. I will accept students either way. I expect that MOST will come to class with nothing written yet (aside from some notes, ideas, and maybe a handful of scenes). Either way, here are my thoughts and notes on how the year will play out.

You will have daily prompts. Those will be on Facebook, in a private, secret group. We will meet via Skype once a month for about three hours, where each author will get 20 MINUTES to talk about any aspect of their novel. You can talk about what is blocking you, exciting you, or eluding you. You can toss out ideas about the plot, questions about clarity, or how you might subvert your genre—you name it. There will be 12 Skype calls a year.

January—Development and Outline (one month)

We will spend the first month using daily prompts to sketch out your book. We will talk about a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: narrative hook, inciting incidents, plot, character, setting, internal and external conflicts, tension, cast, genre, theme, expectations, innovation, structure, format, climax, resolution, and denouement. (Sound familiar?) If you already have a novel written, you will use the daily prompts to check your work, and go deeper. At the end of the month you will share your content with the class, and give feedback to your peers in a timely manner (a week for outlines, please).

February through June—Writing (six months)

This is where the rubber meets the road. I will give you daily prompts that will push you to write. The early prompts will be about the beginning of the novel—the hooks, the setup, the cast of characters, the pace, early foreshadowing, etc. Then we will look at how the plot unfolds, and how deep you go with secondary plots, themes, and characters. As the book grows we will continuously look at the development of your characters, how we feel about them, sympathy and empathy, how the protagonist/s resonate, the enemy and other villains, and overall voice, tension, and depth of story. As we approach the end, we will make sure this story is staying true to character, surprising us along the way, and being as innovating, fresh, and personal as is possible. All of this is leading to that powerful ending—the climax, resolution, change, and denouement. Does it all add up? Does it work? How do we feel? And what was the journey like? Did it give us everything it promised? If not, then that’s the next stage—editing. You will turn in 11,000 words a month (that’s only about 350 words a day). Our goal is to get you over 65,000 words for the year. Most presses want at least 60,000 for a novel. At the end of the month you will share your content with the class, and give feedback to your peers in a timely manner (a month for this writing and developmental editing, please, also known as a read and respond). If you already have a novel written, you will use the daily prompts to check your work, and go deeper.

July through November—Editing (five months)

Okay, this is not only the most painful part of the process (in my opinion) but also the most exciting. What, you doubt me? This is where you give your novel an honest evaluation, listen to your classmates, and trim the fat. There is something hypnotic and invigorating about looking at each chapter and seeing what works (which is probably MOST of it) and then tweaking, trimming, editing, and polishing—making each section sing. Then we get to go through a number of times to check the grammar, make sure the tense stays consistent, develop the setting (all five senses), enhance the feelings we have about our characters, and make sure their actions match their morality and abilities, while not only embracing the genre/s you are writing in, but subvert those expectations. If you promise us a cheeseburger, you better deliver, but the bun, the meat, the toppings—that’s where you can make it your own. You will not turn in edits each month, but will instead work toward a goal of a final, polished novel, which you WILL share with your peers. (Final feedback from YOU is another read and respond, talking about the overall experience, but from me, it will be a full line-by-line edit.)

December—Submission

You didn’t think I’d abandon you after it was all written, did you? This is where we will do research on small presses, agents, and the big five publishers (and their imprints). We will use a variety of tools and resources to figure out where to send your work. And then you will SEND YOUR BOOK OUT! (My final edits are due back to you 30 to 60 days after the class ends. I need time to do my best work, but I also don’t want to hold you up.)

WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR:

  1. Advanced students who are looking to take their writing to the next level.
  2. Experienced authors who have penned many successful short stories, and/or published widely, and are eager to take on the long form. They should have a strong sense of their voice (including strengths and weaknesses).
  3. Authors who are firmly entrenched in one genre, and feel they have a strong understanding of what is expected and/or those looking to subvert the expectations of that genre.
  4. Authors who are writing cross-genre and/or hybrid fiction, and are looking to break the mold and innovate across those genres.
  5. Writers who have the time and discipline to commit an entire year of planning, writing, editing, and submitting this novel.
  6. Authors who are excited about THIS BOOK and are willing to put their blood, sweat, and tears into this narrative. Story should have the depth to go 66,000 words or more.
  7. Writers who have enjoyed my other classes.
  8. Author who have enjoyed my own writing, editing, and publishing (including Gamut and Dark House Press).

PAST SUCCESS:

Other authors and clients I’ve worked with have sold novels to Angry Robot Books, JournalStone, Crystal Lake Publishing, One Eye Press, Post Mortem Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Kraken Press, and Perfect Edge Books. Many writers have also landed agents after working with me. Work I’ve edited has been nominated for the following awards and prizes: Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, Thriller, Nebula, Folio, and Pushcart.

COST/FINANCING:

This was tricky, but basically what I wanted to do was look at my rates for a developmental edit ($4/page) of a novel, as well as a line-by-line edit of a novel ($8/page), and then the class. For 66,000 words, if the average page is 250 words that’s a 264-page novel. So those costs would be $1,056 + $2,112 = $3,168. My workshops are $800 for 16 weeks and my Dark Fiction Class is $1,200 for 16 weeks, so you COULD extrapolate those out to between $2,400 and $3,600 a year. That would put the grand total at somewhere between $4,268 and $6,768. I decided to price it at $5,000. Here are the discounts:

  1. Full Price (with payment plan): $5,000
    (12 months—$416/month; 24 months—$208/month)
  2. Past Student (10% off, with payment plan): $4,500
    (12 months—$375/month; 24 months—$187.50/month)
  3. Past Student (20% off, paid in full): $4,000

For payment plans, there are two obvious options—12 months or 24 months. If you’d like to have the class paid off in full before we start, do 12 months. If you need to stretch it as far as possible to get the lowest monthly rate, do 24 months. I’m willing to work with you all to make this possible. All payments are by Paypal invoice. Other means are possible as well.

NOTE: If your novel goes over 66,000 words, I will bill for the additional length. So, in the developmental stage, that’s at $4/page, which I will bill when we go over (billed in June). With the finished novel, that’s at $8/page, billed when I turn in the completed edits (January or February of 2020). So, if the developmental edit ends up at 70,000 words, I’d bill an additional $64. And if the final manuscripts balloons up to 76,000 that would be an additional invoice for $320 (due upon receipt of the full edit).  

FINAL THOUGHTS

I think this class will go a long way toward making your novel happen. Obviously, the heavy lifting is on your end—I can’t write the book for you. But by having my input and guidance during the conception, writing, editing, and submission, I think your chances for success are very high. And the input of your peers is valuable as well. I was part of a similar group, Write Club, for many years, and it helped me a lot when I was writing Transubstantiate and Disintegration. Also, I won’t accept any students that I don’t think are ready to do this. You must have the determination, the talent, and the imagination.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions!

Thanks,
Richard

Lost Highways Anthology is Now Out! With My Story, “Requital.”

Brand new anthology out today! Very excited to be a part of this book, so many talented authors and friends in here. My story, “Requital” is inspired by the David Lynch film, Lost Highway, and it also (hopefully) taps into the idea of justice, karma, death, and purgatory. Hope you enjoy my work, and the entire collection. From Crystal Lake Publishing:

It’s dangerous out there…on the road.

The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin.

But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal.

Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces.

And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper.

But those are just stories. Aren’t they?

Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road.

Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways.

So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride.

Lineup:
• Introduction by Brian Keene
• doungjai gam & Ed Kurtz — “Crossroads of Opportunity”
• Matt Hayward — “Where the Wild Winds Blow”
• Joe R. Lansdale — “Not from Detroit”
• Kristi DeMeester — “A Life That is Not Mine”
• Robert Ford — “Mr. Hugsy”
• Lisa Kröger — “Swamp Dog”
• Orrin Grey — “No Exit”
• Michael Bailey — “The Long White Line”
• Kelli Owen — “Jim’s Meats”
• Bracken MacLeod — “Back Seat”
• Jess Landry — “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane”
• Jonathan Janz — “Titan, Tyger”
• Nick Kolakowski — “Your Pound of Flesh”
• Richard Thomas — “Requital”
• Damien Angelica Walters — “That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch”
• Cullen Bunn — “Outrunning the End”
• Christopher Buehlman — “Motel Nine”
• Rachel Autumn Deering — “Dew Upon the Wing”
• Josh Malerman — “Room 4 at the Haymaker”
• Rio Youers — “The Widow”

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Amazon: http://getbook.at/LostHighways
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40609864-lost-highways
Shirt: https://bit.ly/2NnKVFw

BEHOLD!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders wins Bram Stoker Award!

So excited to announce that BEHOLD!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology. Doug Murano was an excellent editor, always a pleasure to work with him. My story “Hiraeth” was really out there, and Doug worked with me on it, and even accepted the EDGIER version, encouraging me to push it, and take chances with the narrative. It was also the last story in the anthology, which to me, is another honor.

Featuring Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, John Langan, Erinn L. Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read and Richard Thomas. Foreword by Josh Malerman. Illustrations by Luke Spooner. Cover art by John Coulthart.

BEHOLD! Releases, #1 in Horror Anthologies, My Story “Hiraeth” Included

I’m very excited to announce that BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders (edited by Doug Murano, at Crystal Lake Publishing) is now out! My story, “Hiraeth” is in here, and I think this is really going to be one of the best anthologies put out this year. Doug has been doing excellent work. I turned in TWO versions of my story, and asked Doug which one he wanted (if he wanted EITHER one, LOL) stating that one was riskier, might be more divisive. That’s the version he took.

Who all is in here? Let me list these amazing authors: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, John Langan, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Erinn L. Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read and Richard Thomas (me!). With a foreword by Josh Malerman.

And the reviews that are coming in are excellent, too, not just for the anthology, but also for my story, “Hiraeth” which closes out the book. Very exciting.

Want to hear more about my story? Check out this video:

Art Reveal for “Hiraeth” in Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.

Art reveal! Luke Spooner interprets my story “Hiraeth,” a tale about the wondrous power of the stories we tell ourselves. Love this interior art, such emotion and symbolism, which, when you read the story you’ll totally understand. Always a huge fan of Luke’s work.

Fun fact: The word “hiraeth” is defined as a yearning or nostalgia for a home to which we can never return…a home that, perhaps, never was.

Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders publishes July 28 and features Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, John Langan, Erinn Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read and me!. Foreword by Josh Malerman. Illustrations by Luke Spooner. Cover art by John Coulthart.

My Story, “Hiraeth” will be in BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be a part of Behold: Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders. My story “Hiraeth,” will be in this exciting anthology (I’ve seen the full TOC). It’s a story about pain, hope, suffering, and the stories we tell ourselves, the layers of reality that exist around us. Hope you dig it. I’ll be joining a growing table of contents that so far includes Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Lucy A. Snyder, John F.D. Taff, Brian Kirk, Patrick Freivald, Kristi DeMeester and Erinn Kemper. Josh Malerman will write the foreword. More to come! Stoked. Thanks, Doug Murano and Joe Mynhardt for your continued support. Crystal Lake Publishing continues to do great work. (FYI: Hiraeth is defined as “a feeling of nostalgia or longing for a place you’ve never been, or which may never have existed.)

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories is OUT!

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Last year I only wrote four short stories, one of which, “Repent,” made it into this amazing anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. This is the second anthology I’ve been in with these guys, the first being Shadows Over Main Street. Oh yeah, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman? Nice.

I’m fascinated by the idea of beautiful horror, the intersection between hope and terror, between vengeance and redemption, between action and consequence. I think this is some of my best work to date, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy. “Repent” is about a father who has done some pretty dark things in his past, and the chance he has to do something right, to protect his son.  Here’s more about the book:

From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories–a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness. Awe meets ache. Terror becomes transcendence. Regret gives way to rebirth. Fifteen short stories and one poem span nearly every twisted corner of the horror and dark fiction genres: A woman experiences an emotional reckoning inside a haunted house. A father sees his daughter rescued after a cold case is solved, only to learn the tragic limits of his love. A man awakens a vengeful spirit and learns the terrible price of settling scores. A boy comes of age into awareness of a secret universe of Lovecraftian scale. A young woman confronts the deathly price of existence inside a German concentration camp during the Holocaust. And much, much more… Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia. Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar.

ENJOY!