Writing Explorations

New Workshops and New Works in Progress

One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “are you writing anything new?” And the answer, as those of you who subscribe to my newsletter likely know, is always yes. 

The weird thing about being a writer is that often times I’m three or more books ahead in the production schedule, but can’t really mention any of them as they’re so far out. My last published book was Bid My Soul Farewell (have you read it yet? it has one of my favorite scenes ever in it, when Nedra returns to the island and realizes just what “the dead cannot die” really means…).

Side note! Speaking of Nedra, I recently found the “Incorrect Quotes Generator.” You plug in the names of your favorite characters and it comes up with a funny set of quotes to attribute to them. This was the first one I got, and it was so perfect that I screen-shotted it:

Anyway, while that was my last book published, my agent currently has nearly half a million of my words on her desk in various different books in various different genres and age ranges. And while we’re working on finding those stories homes, I’m also still, of course, writing.

The pandemic has me thinking a lot about the Black Death, because I’m a nerd. So rather than read a series of fun, lovely books for spring, full of brightness and joy, I’m digging up archaeological records (pun!) on graves found in Hereford and tracking down obscure books that have been out of print for a century or more. It’s fun! Really! This is better than Disneyland for me! I mean, how cool is that solar flares helped contribute to the spread of the plague, or a little village in England helped stopped the spread of the plague and then, centuries later, held DNA that helped stop the spread of AIDS?!

So that’s what I’ve been up to! My walls are slowly papering with maps and charts of the fourteenth century, and I’m very slowly starting to coalesce this vague idea into an actual narrative.

For the Writers

In addition to working on my actual writing, I’ve also been knees-deep into reshaping Wordsmith Workshops with co-owner Cristin Terrill. Definitely click the link to check out our brand-new website re-design (featuring a new logo that’s so cute!). But what’s taken the most time, for me, is this:

Cristin and I have both developed new classes that are online entirely. My webinars are all about crafting novels, and they’re all currently uploaded and available! Each workshop is about an hour long and comes with a free download of the worksheets I use for instruction. When you do all the workshops in order, not only do you get enough free downloads to equal an entire copy of the Paper Hearts Workbook, but you also see me go from the initial idea for a project all the way to complete narrative outline.

The workshops in the series are:

  • Idea Generation: Whether you have a firm idea in your head or just a vague set of characters or a problem, this workshop is all about filtering these ideas into one cohesive storyline. Perfect for whether you’ve not started yet or if you need to grapple with a major revision.

  • Developing Character & Voice: Voice is one of those things that make or break a book, and it’s hard to figure out just how to develop it into a unique element of writing. These guided exercises help to make your work stand out.

  • Changes & Consequences: If you’re struggling with ideas on how to truly amp up the pacing of your book, fix plot holes, or make your character development really resonate, this is the workshop for you!

  • Story Structure: This is one of the most-requested workshops we have. Beth personally teaches story structure in the workshop retreats she and Cristin run, and for the first time ever this workshop is now online. With a myriad of charts and resources, this workshop helps you to create a foundation in plot with an eye towards marketable work.

There is also a fifth bonus workshop—slightly shorter—on planning productive writing sessions. Before you get that one, though, make sure you’re signed up for the Wordsmith Workshops newsletter, as we’re going to be giving out a coupon for that one soon!

In addition to these webinars, Cristin is also hosting an online writing series called “The Happy Writer.” This series of live workshops is going to cover imposter’s syndrome, meeting deadlines, handling rejection and much more!

We’re really doing so much with Wordsmith right now! In addition to these big courses, we have other programs, including: