Christine DeSmet is a screenwriter, novelist, and writing teacher and critique coach. She also writes plays and short stories. Her true-story film script “Chinaware-Fragile” was the winner of a past Slamdance Film Festival contest and optioned to New Line Cinema. Read more
Instructor Christine DeSmet has a Christmas story published and is a featured writer online at JewelsoftheQuill.com
Christine DeSmet, teacher of many writing courses at UW-Madison Continuing Studies and director of our June retreat, is the author of a new holiday story called “The Christmas Magi of Birch Bay” in the book Christmas Gem, a collection of holiday stories published by Whiskey Creek Press. Christine is also this month’s featured author at the Jewels of the Quill website, where you can read excerpts of her writing. Check out www.JewelsoftheQuill.com
Instructor Christine DeSmet has new short story in Christmas collection
Christine DeSmet’s holiday short story set in northern Wisconsin called, “The Christmas Magi of Birch Bay,” appears in the new Christmas Gems: A Jewels of the Quill Christmas Anthology,” available now from Whiskey Creek Press in paperback or electronic formats.
Christine’s story leads the collection. Her story is a sweet romance involving a young war widow who finds the loneliness of the holiday lifted by an ordinary Joe venturing into her antique shop to look for an elusive baseball card for his collection.
This is a noncredit, online writing class through UW-Madison Continuing Studies.
Write Your Novel Fast & Sure
Basic-level and Pro-level options.
This online course features one-on-one guidance from an experienced writing mentor.
With a writing coach you write and revise pages fast and with quality. And the focus is on helping you retain your unique voice and vision for your story.
Your instructor, Christine DeSmet, has adapted this material from her successful retreats and the deep revision work she does with writers one-on-one throughout the year. She’s helped writers accomplish a variety of goals and at all stages, from starting their first novel, to getting an agent or making a sale.
Who is this course for? These types of writers can benefit:
- You’re new to novel writing and want quality from the start.
- You’ve had a manuscript rejected several times and know it’s time for deep revision.
- You can’t sustain your writing habit and need a coach/mentor to keep the pages flowing.
- You have great ideas but can’t find a plot that works. Things fizzle by page 30.
- You need help in developing more dynamic characters.
- You want help with marketing advice as well as writing assistance.
What does the course cover?
Topics include logline, premise, story spine, character arc, fatal flaw, plot, setting, scene polishing, and voice. Learn how to write a logline, query letter, synopsis, beat sheet, and outline. Create great scenes. Then learn how to write “set-piece” quality scenes. Learn how to take clutter out of your pages and put in the stuff that matters to agents, editors, and readers.
Each unit includes action steps for you to do that help get you writing and keep you writing.
You get tons of immediate feedback on your pages, and on the revisions.
Exercises at the end of each unit lead you through the actual writing of either your first 30 pages (basic level), or the first 100 pages or more (pro level). Writers may opt to purchase additional page critiques. The choices let you spend only what you need to in order to get your novel written YOUR way.
This course is a writer’s retreat—YOUR retreat.
You get to ask the instructor questions anytime via email.
There are no maddening required hours that you’re required to be online.
Work at your own pace. And if you need a deadline to help nudge you along, your instructor will help set one up with you.
No textbooks are required. This course focuses on writing YOUR novel. Each unit contains the essentials you need to know for writing a novel with quality or sureness. Feedback on your pages and the exercises replace the need for textbooks in this course, however writers are always encouraged to seek the wonderful advice found in the many good “how-to” books available in your library or book store. Your instructor’s personal welcome letter will list a few books that most writers agree contain excellent advice.
You can begin this course at the Basic level, then trade up to the Pro level anytime. Or start at the Pro level. Your choice.
All feedback, critiques, and instruction are delivered in a nurturing, professional manner, with an emphasis on the great joy it is to be a novel writer.
Please feel free to contact instructor Christine DeSmet anytime via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 608-262-3447.
Unit 1: Give your novel momentum from the start.
- What are you really writing when writing a novel?
- The importance of your “concept.”
- Your genre’s promise and reader expectations.
- The character’s “journey” and “character arc.”
- Novel story structure in a nutshell.
- Homework. Writing your novel fast and sure. 1-5 pages.
Unit 2: Your best novel-creation tricks.
1. The Logline and Central Question: necessary tools.
2. What are plot points?
3. The Fatal Flaw and the Transformational Arc.
4. Homework. Writing your novel fast and sure. 10-20 pages.
Unit 3: Character Deepening
- Finding character depth fast: 20 questions to ask your character.
- What characters do you need?
- Incorporating theme or an issue into a plot or character: clunkiness versus elegance.
- Homework. Writing your novel fast and sure. 10-30 pages.
Unit 4: Good scenes = Great novels
- The spine of your story = the clothesline containing key scenes that push your plot forward.
- What is a scene? What makes a scene “good”?
- Common mistakes in scenes and how to correct them.
- The “set-piece” scene. How many should you have?
- Create dazzling dialogue.
- Creating your beat sheet. Do you outline or not?
- Homework. Writing your novel fast and sure.
Unit 5: Setting sells
- Savvy writers know the secrets of setting.
- Eight questions to improve setting in your novel.
- Page 1-2 checklist for setting.
- Setting as character.
- Some important questions to help you revise and improve your novel’s setting.
- Homework. Writing your novel fast and sure. Through pages 25-75 (depending on your level).
Unit 6: What’s your next step?
- Where do you go from here?
- Feedback on your query letter.
- Feedback on your short synopsis.
- Writing to page 30 for Basic-level writers.
- Writing to page 100 (and more) for Pro-level writers.
- Marketing goals. Find an agent? Publish?
Christine DeSmet has seen many of her past critique clients and participants in UW writing retreats and workshops go on to accomplish great things, including becoming published, landing agent representation, self-publishing, or finishing a novel. At UW-Madison, Christine teaches fiction and screenwriting, and mentors and critiques writers throughout the year in the areas of fiction, nonfiction books, screenwriting, and playwriting. She’s the published author of several humorous, romantic mystery short stories, and a romantic suspense novel. Her work has garnered several national awards. As a professional screenwriter, she’s a past winner of the Slamdance Film Festival; she optioned that screenplay to New Line Cinema. As a playwright, she earned a Top Ten designation in the Wisconsin Wrights competition. Her memberships include Writers Guild of America, East; Sisters in Crime; Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum.
$245 Basic level: Write your novel with a mentor from idea stage through your outline/beat sheet through three-chapter proposal for an agent.
$525 Pro level: Write your novel from idea stage through the "magic page 100," with an option for coaching/critiques all the way to the end. Includes marketing assistance.
Work at your own pace and take up to a year to finish. Register any time.
Online: Register now online with our secure server.
Mail: Print and mail our registration form.
Telephone: Call 608-262-2451 or toll-free 800-725-9692 to register. Our phone is answered M-F, 7:00 am-4:30 pm Central Time. At other times please leave a message, and we will return your call.
Contact Christine DeSmet (email@example.com, 608-262-3447) for more details. Work at your own pace and take up to a year to finish. You will earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) when you complete the course. CEUs: 1.2 for Basic Level; 9.0 for Pro Level.
For more information about online learning contact Lori O'Neill at 608-263-6322 or toll-free 877-336-7836 or email LSAonline@dcs.wisc.edu.
Also of interest
Explore other online writing classes.
The same writing staff that bring you these great online classes also provide individualized writing critique services. Learn more by visiting our writing critique services web page.
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