Frequently Asked Questions for Fiction Writing: Tools of the Trade

[/expand] What will I learn in this class?

You’ll learn how to write an amazing first line that glues your readers to the page; turn real-life interviews into complex, desire-driven characters; construct tight, compelling scenes that move plot forward; use a plot pyramid; choose the right point of view; write dazzling dialogue.

Tell me more about my teacher.

Jennifer Steil’s unique background — journalist, writer, novelist — coupled with her passionate desire to empower aspiring writers have led to the creation of this very special online fiction writing class. Jennifer believes everyone has a fascinating story, all that’s needed to tell it is the right skill set.

Her novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, has been critically acclaimed by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and The New York Times Book Review. Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway has signed on to star in a television miniseries based on the novel. Her memoir, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, won accolades in The New York Times and Newsweek. Elle magazine gave it their Readers’ Prize and National Geographic Traveler placed it on its recommended reading list.

Jennifer will be giving you the benefit of her experience and expertise so you can write the short or long fiction you’ve always dreamed of writing.

What kind of feedback can I expect in this online writing course?

Each week Jennifer will read your work carefully. She will tell you which parts of your writing are the strongest, and how you can bolster the weaker parts to make it powerful. Jennifer promises to treat your efforts with respect and to offer the kind of constructive critique she would want for her own work.

You will also receive feedback from your classmates. Jennifer will provide guidelines for this feedback, so it will be as helpful and constructive as possible. The guidelines change weekly to accommodate the specific lessons being taught.

How do I interact with my classmates and teacher?

Each week, you submit your weekly writing assignment to the entire class and to your instructor via email anytime prior to midnight EST on Sunday.

Each week, you also create a brief response to the writing of your classmates, as they, in turn, will do for you. These are due anytime prior to midnight EST on Tuesday. You’ll receive instructions for how to create these responses.

The classmate responses and those of your instructor are gathered into a single convenient email which you receive on Wednesday or Thursday. You may also email your instructor at any point during the course to discuss course-related issues, either about your work or the assigned readings.

When does the class meet?

There are no required meeting times in this online writing class. Assignments are submitted weekly at your convenience, anytime prior to the deadline of midnight EST on Sunday.

What is the time commitment for the course?

Your weekly assignment – writing and reading – will take 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Responding to the work of your classmates will probably take an additional hour. 3 to 3-1/2 hours a week is the average time commitment.

How many people are in a class?

This class is limited to 7 participants.

Do I need computer skills to participate in this online writing program?

All you need is a basic familiarity with e-mail and your computer keyboard, and an ability to click on links on the Internet.

Do I have to purchase anything?


How much does it cost?

The PART ONE Tools of the Trade for Fiction Writing course consists of 5 weekly sessions and costs $289. There is a 5-week PART TWO class if you want to continue your fiction writing with Jennifer.

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When's the next class?

New online fiction writing classes start up continually throughout the year. The next PART ONE or PART TWO class begins Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020.

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How do I register?

You may register online by paying with your credit/debit card through PayPal.  No additional forms are needed.

You may also register by check using a printable form.

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