Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Workshop: Writing with Authority

To kick off our promotional campaign...

Online Course

INSTRUCTORS: Jason Jack Miller and Heidi Ruby Miller

DATE: April 1 – May 2, 2011


COURSE DESCRIPTION: The easiest way to engage your reader is by using concrete nouns and action verbs. In this one-month online course, Seton Hill University creative writing faculty Jason Jack Miller and Heidi Ruby Miller will show you how to analyze your writing and use easy techniques that will increase the authority of your voice.

Participants will:
* Discover how to spot passive voice
* Scrutinize their writing for generic nouns and indefinite pronouns
* Learn to avoid weak verbs and overuse of “be” in all its forms
* Practice using strong synonyms to find the best action verb
* Apply word cloud research to make their plot come alive

FREE BONUS: Course participants will receive a free excerpt (.pdf) from the new writing guide, MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: LESSONS IN WRITING POPULAR FICTION (Headline Books, Inc.) edited by Heidi Ruby Miller and Michael A. Arnzen with contributions from Jason Jack Miller et al.

TUITION: $79 ($89 non-Pennwriters members) $89 ($99 non-Pennwriters members)

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS: Heidi Ruby Miller is the co-editor of the writing guide, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction. A graduate from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program, she has authored dozens of publications. Before becoming a full-time writer and adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, Heidi worked as a contract archaeologist, an educational marketing coordinator, a foreign currency exchanger, and a world language teacher. To learn more about Heidi Ruby Miller, visit http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com or email her at heidirubymiller@gmail.com.

Jason Jack Miller is a writer, photographer and musician whose work has appeared online and in print in newspapers, magazines and literary journals, and as a smart phone travel app. He has co-authored a travel guide with his wife Heidi and served as a photographer-in-residence. Jason is an Authors Guild member who received a Master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University where he is adjunct creative writing faculty. To learn more about Jason Jack Miller, visit http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com or email him at jasonjackmiller@gmail.com.

* Subscribe to the Pennwriters Online Courses announcement list for email on our latest workshops:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome to Many Genres...


Now that we have turned the manuscript in to the publisher, it seems a fitting time to launch this weblog.  We're currently on schedule for a Spring release of MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction (Headline Books, 2011) -- an amazing anthology of instructional articles for fiction writers looking for advice on how to improve their writing and better navigate the mass market for genre novels.

Sure, lots of how-to books are out there already, offering to help writers improve.  Ours is different.  Here's what makes MANY GENRES unique:

  • This book is like a genre writer's workshop in a bottle!  Every contributor to this book is a seasoned veteran in the industry or a hot new writer...and many are bestsellers who have won multiple literary awards for their potent and entertaining genre fiction.

  • But more than that, these contributors know how to teach genre fiction. They are all trained teachers, visiting authors, or published alums from the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program offered by Seton Hill University -- the only grad school dedicated to writing commercially-viable genre novels of quality.

    (But this is no stuffy textbook...MANY GENRES is full of chatty advice from writers who love to tell stories in their genres, and are passionate about passing on their practical wisdom and strategies for success.)

  • The book is a hefty volume, with over 130,000 words devoted to genre fiction writing.  It is divided into three parts, with an average of 20 articles about each:  CRAFT, GENRE, and THE WRITER'S LIFE:

  • The GENRE section includes an array of articles about each popular genre in the marketplace:  romance, Women's fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, suspense thriller, mystery, children's and young adult.  There are even articles on manga to magic realism, short fiction to media tie-in books.  And broader discussions of genre, the marketplace and originality. Whether you want to specialize in one genre, write for several, or develop cross-genre hybrid fiction, this book will help.
  • The CRAFT section looks at each element of fiction (character, plot, setting, etc.) with plenty of examples from genre texts, with smart tips on how to revise and self-edit in order to satisfy editors in the commercial marketplace. 
  • The section on THE WRITER'S LIFE offers practical advice on how to maximize your genre writing career, with essays on learning (workshops, grad school, research), working (time management, finding an agent, landing a teaching job) and promoting (reviews, press release, guerilla marketing, and genre conventions).  
  • The scope of the book is stunningly wide, with articles ranging from "How to Get an Agent" to "The Element of Surprise in Horror, Thriller and Mystery fiction" to "Put a Little Love in Your Plot."  You'll learn about how to craft great opening lines, how to handle "alpha male" characters, and how to run a Virtual Book Tour...and much more. To get a better sense of all that you can learn from this remarkable book, read a sneak preview of the table of contents on scribd.com.
  • The book's 60+ contributors are the voices you trust from the bestseller lists and new writers with something fresh to say about the unique needs for the genre marketplace today.  Chances are good you'll recognize one of these names, but if you don't, you will.  Keep coming back to this page to learn more.  Here's the full and final list of our contributing writers: 

    Michael A. Arnzen

    Rebecca Baker

    Shelley Bates

    Michael Bracken

    Gary A. Braunbeck

    Crystal B. Bright

    Jennifer Brisendine

    Sally Bosco

    Christopher Paul Carey

    Ginger Clark

    Lawrence C. Connolly

    David J. Corwell

    Susan Crandall

    Kaye Dacus

    Penny Dawn

    John DeChancie

    C. Coco DeYoung

    Matt Duvall

    Natalie Duvall

    Ron Edison

    Elaine Ervin

    Timons Esaias

    Tess Gerritsen

    Venessa Giunta

    Leslie Davis Guccione

    Anne Harris

    W.H. Horner

    Lee Allen Howard

    KJ Howe

    Russ Howe

    Scott A. Johnson

    Nancy Kress

    Chun Lee


    Patrice Lyle

    Susan Mallery

    Dana Marton

    Lee McClain

    Mike Mehalek

    Sharon Mignerey

    Barbara Miller

    Heidi Ruby Miller

    Jason Jack Miller

    Mary Ann Mogus

    Thomas F. Monteleone

    David Morrell

    Catherine Mulvany

    Nicole Peeler

    Adrea Peters

    Patrick Picciarelli

    Steven Piziks

    Rachael Pruitt

    Lynn Salsi

    Mary SanGiovanni

    David Shifren

    Randall Silvis

    Lucy A. Snyder

    Maria V. Snyder

    Victoria Thompson

    Diane Turnshek

    Tim Waggoner

    Albert Wendland

    Teffanie Thompson White

    Karen Lynn Williams

    Ryan M. Williams

    K. Ceres Wright

    Bookmark or follow this page. And tell your writer and teacher friends. We've got a LOT planned for this website in the months leading up to the official launch of MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT in bookstores, including author features, excerpts, news about workshops in your area, and more!


    About the Editors

    Michael A. Arnzen is a college teacher by day and a horror writer by night. He has been educating novelists since 1999 as faculty in the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, where he is currently Chair of the Humanities. Arnzen's energetic workshops on genre fiction writing have been popular at Odyssey, Alpha, World Horror Convention, Context, Pennwriters and the Horror Writers Association's annual Stoker Weekend event. His often funny, always disturbing horror stories have won four Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild award, and several "Year's Best" accolades. The best of his short work is collected in Proverbs for Monsters, which won the Stoker award in 2007. Always exploring new media, Arnzen has experimented with flash fiction (100 Jolts), musically-enhanced readings (Audiovile), short film (Exquisite Corpse), and twitter poetry before there was a twitter (Gorelets), in addition to his horror novels (Grave Markings, Play Dead). To see what he's up to now, subscribe to The Goreletter: an award-winning newsletter of the bizarre, hilarious, and pithy -- which features creative writing prompts for other writers of the strange -- available free at http://gorelets.com.

    After obtaining undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Geography with specialties in Spanish and Tourism, Heidi Ruby Miller pursued several career paths, just not at the same time, including contract archaeology, foreign currency exchange at Walt Disney World, secondary foreign language teacher, and Educational Marketing Director for a Frank Lloyd Wright House. Now she is adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their Writing Popular Fiction graduate program the same month she appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Her fiction is in various print and online publications. Among them are: "The Islands of Hope" in Sails and Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy (Fantasist Enterprises Ed. by W. H. Horner), "The Surrender" in Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 (Ed. by Jordan Lapp, Camille Gooderham Campbell, and Steven Smethurst), “Mr. Johnson’s Boy” and "Sounds in the Jungle" in Eye Contact. Her spy thriller Atomic Zion is available at Amazon.com. She is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Visit Heidi's weblog for news and inspiration.

    To learn more about Seton Hill University's unique MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, visit http://fiction.setonhill.edu. A weblog of news about SHU writers is available on the WPF Livejournal and the Asylum of WPF Bloggers. posted by mike