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Featured Online Fiction Writing Class

Strengthening Your Fiction, 4-week class with Dawn Carrington

STRENGTHENING YOUR FICTION—What to Use, What to Lose, and What You Need to Make Your Writing Stand Out from the Crowd by Dawn Carrington, Editor-in-Chief of Vinspire Publishing

START DATE:  July 8, 2024

DURATION: 4 weeks

LOCATION:  Email only. This is an asynchronous course that can be studied from anywhere, in any time zone.

FEEDBACK:  Instructor Feedback

COURSE DESCRIPTION: There’s a chasm between writing and writing well. While writing well takes practice, it also takes education. You have to learn what is needed in your story and what isn’t. In this class, you’ll learn what’s bogging your story down, what you can do to lift it up, and simple techniques that will put you one step ahead of the sea of authors publishing books every day.

For the next four weeks, we’ll cover story, scene, and chapter beginnings, unnecessary words and actions, deep points of view, inactive vs. active verbs, and the one thing you might be doing to hinder yourself when writing. By the end of this course, you’ll have a clear view of what should be in your novel and what shouldn’t and what makes the difference between a good novel and a great one. In addition, you’ll have the first scene of your novel written and polished and know where to go from that point forward.

Feedback will be provided on all assignments.

Note: This session comes with a free critique of the first 1500 words of your novel.

I appreciated the class [Jumping into Romance] and received so much more from it than the two community classes I had taken. ~ Connie Z

Are you new to writing and the publishing/promoting world looks too large to handle? Are you a seasoned writer but lack the necessary skills and ideas necessary for a powerful promotion of your work? Look no further than the promotional ideas and suggestions given by Ms. Carrington. Writing the story is only the first step to sales and a loyal fan following. As Ms. Carrington has said in her Power Promotion Workshops, “I would encourage you all to start writing for each other’s newsletters as well as other authors you know. I was just asked to write some tips for authors in another author’s newsletter. That’s how you get your name out there. Make yourself stand out from the crowd. Be creative. Get together with a group of authors and shoot around some marketing/promoting ideas.” In addition to these suggestions are many more that empower the writer through knowledge of the promotional game and how it’s played. Ms. Carrington’s workshops are a must! ~ Laura Shinn, Author/Freelance Editor

Thanks to your promotional workshop, I embraced the Scavenger Hunt Idea and participated in a Holiday Hunt with several authors. This proved very beneficial. In less than four weeks I had over one hundred hits to my website and increased my sales. I'm very glad I attended your workshop. ~ Donna Michaels, Author of Romaginative Fiction

The class was enlightening, humorous, and filled with common sense. Directions where to go for further information was nice. It’s easy to put off the work of writing for the fun. You made me realize the need for work. Thanks! ~ Katie Daniels


Week 1: Starting the Story, the Scenes, and the Chapters

How many times have you opened a book and read a stale first line that talks about the surroundings, the weather, or some other issue that really doesn’t make much difference to the plot? You have one chance to catch a reader’s attention when they open your book. You do that with your first line and with the first line of subsequent scenes and chapters. A powerful opening is one that pulls a reader in and won’t let them stop reading.

In this lesson, you’ll read examples of strong opening lines, learn how to rearrange your current opening, and discover how impactful one sentence can really be.

Assignment: Provide examples of two strong opening lines and two weak opening lines.

Week 2: What to Use: Internal Dialogue, Action Verbs, and Deep POV

Internal dialogue, action verbs, and deep POV are some of the necessary pieces of the novel puzzle. Without them, your book can be as dry as Phoenix in the summer. In this week’s lesson, we’ll take the first scene from your book and make it sing because you’ll learn how to let readers really get to know your characters, how to make your sentences pack a punch, and how to let your characters do the talking.

Assignment: Using the first scene from your story, add internal dialogue to one of the characters in the scene.

Week 3: What to Lose: Unnecessary Words and Action, Inactive Verbs, Character Names, and those Infernal Adverbs

Unnecessary words and action, inactive verbs, character names, and those infernal adverbs form a melting pot of bad habits that bog your story down. But how do you know how many adverbs to use? How many is too many? And what exactly are unnecessary words?

This week, your scene will go from polished to gleaming when we strip away what's unnecessary and let your story speak for itself.

Assignment: Using the first scene from your story, identify all inactive verbs and replace them with active verbs. Use active verbs instead of adverbs. Search for all unnecessary words that can be eliminated and remove them.

Week 4: What You’re Doing to Hinder Your Writing: Descriptions—Why Less is More

Every writer tends to over-describe when they begin writing. Whether it’s Aunt Edna’s beehive or the two-story house that’s been in the family for a century, the descriptions can easily take up two or three paragraphs. It can be difficult to determine how much is too much description, which is why this week’s lesson is so important.

This week, we’ll go over descriptions, learn why less is usually more, and learn an easy way to determine when you're going overboard. You’ll choose a descriptive section from the first scene in your book and implement the techniques. By the time you’re finished, you’ll know exactly how to fix the remaining scenes in your book!

Assignment: Choose a descriptive scene from the first scene in your book and tighten it to no more than three sentences. Make it pop with words that pack a punch!

Materials needed: An Internet connection and email capability. The first scene of a novel, which should be at least 1,000 words.

Rachel CarringtonABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Dawn Rachel Carrington has been the editor-in-chief of Vinspire Publishing, a publisher of family friendly books, since 2004. A published author of over fifty titles ranging from romantic suspense to historical romance, she was a civil litigation paralegal for over thirty years.

Currently, a freelance editor/writer residing in historic Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel has written over 1500 non-fiction articles, short stories and essays. Her work can be found in Absolute Write, The New York Times, Short-Edition, The Writer, The Writer's Journal, Writing for Dollars, Writer's Magazine, Writer's Weekly, Funds for Writers, and more.

Because she likes staying busy, Rachel has also taught classes for Suite 101 and for author groups regarding promoting, writing, starting your own business, and editing.

When she's not writing, she loves to read historical fiction. She also creates book videos, is an avid shopper, a HUGE Star Trek fan, a traveler, and an antique store addict.

Visit her website at and Vinspire Publishing at

COST: $150 SALE! $90, which includes weekly assignments and individual feedback from the instructor, and a free critique of the first 1500 words of your novel.

BUY NOW:  Strengthening Your Fiction, by Dawn Carrington (4 weeks, starting 7/8/2024) Limit: 12 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 7/8/2024


Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:

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