Online Workshops & Classes

 If you would like me to speak to your writer’s group or teach at a large-group or small-group retreat, contact me at rasley@juno.com. Here are some of the classes I teach. (I can also do most of these in an email or online forum format.) I can adapt these courses for any level of writing experience, from beginner to expert.

Workshops and Classes (this is just a sampling)

Being, Doing, Becoming: The Heroic Flaw and the Heroic Journey

Nature abhors perfection– and so does the story.

Fiction, like nature, is all about change. So in a story, heroism requires more than being perfectly heroic, and even more than committing heroic acts. It also requires the ability to change under pressure, to grow into someone better even if it hurts.

In the same way, creating a heroic character requires more of the author than merely creating a perfectly brave protagonist and inventing exciting events to showcase those powers and skills. It requires providing the protagonist the need to change, the courage to change, the opportunity to change, and the motivation to change.

The imperfect protagonist makes the three-dimensional story possible. The character moving through the external plot is a story of only two dimensions. The internal journey, the process towards psychological or emotional or life change, provides the depth that takes this story into three dimensions.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore how you can determine your own character’s heroic flaw, and use it to develop a meaningful opening, a powerful journey, and a dramatic and satisfying ending.

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Dynamic Dialogue

Dynamic dialogue can sell a book that might otherwise be ignored. That’s because dialogue reaches right out to the human in us all, the one that wants contact and conversation, and if you do that well, the reader will overlook a host of other faults. So in this interactive workshop, we’ll explore practical techniques to make sure your dialogue forcefully conveys the individual voices of your characters, and purposefully pushes your plot. We’ll discuss:

  • DIALOGUE AS CHARACTERIZATION
  • DIALOGUE AS PLOT ACTION-INTERACTION
  • LISTEN UP NOW (The Sound of Your Dialogue)
  • MAKE IT MOVE, SET IT UP

Make your dialogue dynamic. Make it move. Make it meaningful. Make it matter.

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Emotion Without Purple Prose

In this interactive workshop, bestselling author Alicia Rasley will help you explore two “non-purple-prose” ways of creating a compelling emotional experience for your reader: Story Design and Scene Design. You will leave with some seriously useful (but easily applied) strategies to deepen your story and scenes, and you’ll have a chance to ask Alicia for advice on your own work.

In Story Design, Alicia will explore how the entire book plot can be shaped to create emotion in the reader. She will guide you to find the event arrangement approach that’s best for you and your story. Interactive exercises using your own material will help you tighten and focus that approach to help maximize drama.

In Scene Design, Alicia will zoom in on the building blocks of plot, the scenes, to help you learn not just to describe emotion in your scenes but to create emotion in your readers. Using scene design, body language, and the “magic rule of three,” you can learn to set up the reader for the emotion you will provide—without purple language or overwriting. You’ll also learn to help your readers “be” your characters within dramatic and intense scenes.

Join us for an interactive, multimedia workshop which will help you discover useful solutions for the major problems writers face as they move beyond plotting into presentation. This friendly and conversational workshop will be helpful to the writer just starting out as well as the writer who has advanced enough to encounter sophisticated writing challenges!

* Shaping the entire plot to create emotion in the reader
* Arranging story events to tighten, focus and maximize drama
* Going beyond just describing emotion to actually induce emotion
* Using scene design, body language, and “magic rule of three”
* Setting up the reader for the emotion you will provide
* Creating emotion without purple language or overwriting
* Guiding readers to “be” your characters within dramatic, intense scenes

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Intensive Pacing Workshop—5 Steps to the Page Turner

Pacing is the art of making things happen so that the reader keeps reading. Easy to describe, hard to do. But in this fast-paced pacing workshop, you will get targeted tips to help you improve your story’s pacing, whether it’s faced, measured, or leisurely. We’ll discuss:

  • Determining the appropriate pace for your story.
  • Macro-pacing 1: The Three Acts and how to pace them.
  • Macro-pacing 2: The Turning Points and pacing.
  • Mid-level Pacing: Designing scenes for pace.
  • Prose and Pacing: Pacing up your language.

The exercises will be about your story, so you should have your own plot in mind. This will be useful for intermediate and advanced writers especially.

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Building Bolder Scenes

Scenes are what your readers remember and cherish after they finish your book. Scenes are what the reader remembers long after your plot and character names are forgotten. “Remember the chocolate chip cookie scene? What about the scene in the mall where she saw the earrings and realized her husband was cheating?” Powerful scenes will make your stories vivid and your characters come alive. In Alicia Rasley’s premier master class on building bolder scenes, we’ll work on selecting scenes, sequencing them for greater power in the plot, and designing them for drama and meaning. You’ll learn how to use scene goal, emotional arc, theme, and “the magic rule of three” to create memorable scenes that develop your story. Some aspects of the workshop will include:
* Designing the scene conflict for drama
* Forcing characters to be active by setting/attempting scene goals
* Using cause/effect to keep “scene beats” plausible and clear
* Keeping the characters — and the readers — off balance with complications
* Powering up scene endings to make readers start another chapter
* Building suspense and humor with the Magic Rule of Three
* Creating an emotional arc for intense emotional moments

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Point of View and Your Story Design

The author of the seminal Power of POV book will work with you to define the POV approach that’s best for your story, and to refine your prose and scenes to give the reader just the right experience. No rules, just tools. There is no “right POV,” just the one that’s right for your story. In this workshop, we’ll work on using Point of View choices in your story and within your scenes to “show, don’t tell,” create suspense, and deepen characterization. We’ll discuss:

  • POV myths and possibilities—Your Genre and Your Story
  • Limitation as Liberation: Stop Thinking of POV as a Prison—It’s a Prism.
  • Truly, Madly, Deeply: Using POV to Deepen Your Character
  • POV and Story/Scene Power

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Vivid Voice

Whenever readers and writers talk about why they particularly like a certain author, frequently they mention the author’s voice. How can you develop your voice into one that will resonate with readers? When does a strong voice become too strong? Should you try to change your natural voice? Do you even know what it is? During this class you’ll look at the essential elements of voice, your own as well as the voices of your characters, and how to use it to strengthen your writing as well as your individual brand.

  • Defining — and refining — your voice
  • Point of view and voice
  • Character Voice vs. Author Voice
  • Using voice to individualize the story
  • The perils of a strong voice
  • Making your voice your brand

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Openings– Starting Your Story Right

If the editors, agents, reviewers, and writers aren’t intrigued by your opening paragraph and page, they might not read any further! That’s one of the hardest truths about submitting fiction. If you’re close to submitting your proposal, here’s your chance to get feedback and revise.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll work on crafting impressive openings that capture the attention while setting up the story conflict and previewing your unique voice.

We’ll discuss:
*Where to start the book
*Where to start the scene
*How to set up the story question
*How to introduce the characters
*How to showcase your voice on the first page
*The all-important first paragraph– keeping it simple, yet profound

Alicia Rasley blogged the long-running “opening paragraph critique” for the Edittorrent blog, and will help you create a coherent and intriguing opening for your current story.

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Channeling Your Characters

In this interactive workshop, you’ll be exploring your main characters’ journeys, strengths, conflicts, and values. From these discussions and exercises, you can deepen your scenes and your plot with an emotional arc. And you’ll be able to individualize your plot events by determining where the characters start, where they end up, and how they get there through interacting with the other characters in the story events. Every exercise will apply directly to your own story, and Alicia will respond to each exercise individually with suggestions and feedback. Channel your characters, and deepen and individualize your story with insightful counsel!

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Other workshops- and, as you can see, I love to create new ones, so ask if you don’t see what you’re looking for!

Plotting and Characterization

3X3: Three Acts, Nine Turning Points– A Blueprint for Your Plot

Storytelling Structure: Character and Plot Journeys

The High Concept Plot and Proposal

Openings: Starting Your Book, Starting Your Scene

Story Glue: Theme, Motif, and the Magic Rule of Three

Powering Up Your Pacing

Truly, Madly, Deeply: Creating Intensely Identifiable Characters

Scene and Presentation

Being and Feeling: The Power of Point of View

Building Bolder Scenes

Creating a Vivid Voice

Emotion Writing Without Sentimentality

Writing Process and Publishing Reality

Busting Writer’s Block

Retiring to Write: Transitioning to a New Life in Writing

Turbo-Charge Your Writing: Taking Your Talent to the Next Level

Judging and Critiquing the Affirmative Way

New Publishing Horizons, and How to Reach Them

Top Ten Ways to Make Your Next Book Irresistible:

Keeping Your Head and Heart in a Changing Publishing Industry

Staying Creative in the New Publishing Environment

What You Need to Know About Writing and Publishing Today, But No One Else Will Tell You

Story in the New Millennium: Writing to Succeed NOW

Alicia Rasley is a Rita-award-winning Amazon bestselling author who teaches other fiction writers how to write great stories. She is the author of The Power of Point of View and The Story Within Plotbook. Her novel The Year She Fell from Belle Books quickly became a Kindle bestseller, and her latest mystery from Bell Bridge Books is Until Death. Alicia’s Regency novels and writing books are also available in e-format at Amazon. After earning her MA in English Literature from Butler University, she now teaches English and writing at the university level.

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