Sun, Nov 2: Master The Skills Needed To Write Your First Novel with Toni & Shelly

Full Day Workshop

Master The Skills Needed To Write Your First Novel

9 am to 5 pm with a one-hour lunch break

For this full-day interactive Master Class, please bring the first chapter of your novel, or at least 6 pages, as well as a one-page  synopsis.  Email the chapter to Toni ( well before the conference to receive a chance to revise before the class.  Be sure to double-space.  (tip: Single spacing brands you an amateur).
Editors in New York publishing houses tell literary agent Toni Lopopolo:

  • I’m looking for well-written, vivid, voice-driven books, in the adult, young adult, new adult, and narrative non-fiction books.”   
  • “I’m always in search of the next big voice in Romance.”
  • “—a distinct, compelling authorial voice, and a strong narrative.”
  • “I look for solid, voice-driven writing that makes the author stand out from the pack.”

This can’t be said too often: To impress a publisher enough to receive a contract for a novel, no matter the genre, a writer must know what skills he/she needs, then must master those skills.  Guaranteed to raise your present skills several levels, this Master Class will help any writer learn:

  • The importance of voice
  • The importance of story
  • The importance of your main character(s)
  • Why dialogue is not conversation
  • Conventions of style vs “rules”
  • The difference between story & plot
  • The importance of eccentricity in your characters
  • Ratio of narration to scenes
  • The golden rules of writing scenes
  • Rate of revelation
  • How to stay out of your own story! (author intervention)
  • How & Why to choose the best point of view for your novel
  • Why you must learn to cut; to kill your darlings
  • Your habit words
  • The secrets of verbs
  • The 20 terrible words
  • How to avoid the 10 Most Common Mistakes
  • How to read as a writer
  • How to create an irresistible storyline pitch
  • The best books to own on fiction writing (see below)
  • The importance of defining and reading your genre
  • How and when to approach an agent
  • The importance of a professional editor
  • Why action beats narration
  • What’s best for you: big publisher, small publisher, self-publisher

During this Master Class, you will be given short assignments and the time to complete them. Come prepared.

Get the books needed early from Amazon:

  1. Stein On Writing by Sol Stein
  2. Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
  3. The Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf

Bring these books with you.

<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>About the instructors…
Toni Lopopolo spent 20 years in New York City publishing, then took her street creds to open her literary agent in 1991.  Toni served as executive editor at Macmillan, then St Martin’s Press. As an acquiring editor, Toni reviewed the best projects sent to her by agents.  But as a new literary agent, Toni realized, by what writers sent to her agency as “finished” manuscripts, that most writers who approached her to represent them had not mastered the skills required. To impress a publisher enough to receive a contract on a first novel, a writer must know what skills he/she needs, then master those skills.  Toni, in her capacity as an editor, writing instructor, and literary agent, developed methods to help writers learn those skills, practice those skills, and, master them.

No wonder students flock to Shelly Lowenkopf’s classes and well-published professionals come to him now for consults.  He spent most of his years in the working side of publishing as a “shirt-sleeves” editor, acquiring and developing genre, mainstream, and literary fiction as well as dramatic biography and theme-based nonfiction inquiry.  A versatile and ambitious writer as well, Shelly’s editorial skills reflect both sides of the desk.  His years of leading students to publishing contracts makes him an ideal other voice for Toni Lopopolo in demonstrating these necessary steps to significant and continued publication.

Direct quotes from some of Shelly’s student evaluations:

“This course, [Reading Like a Writer]  “ led me to publication.”

“I wish I’d had this course [<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Developing a Literary Voice]a long time ago.”

“There are introductions to writing and there is Shelly’s Introduction to Publication.”


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