Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theory on Thursday with Nicola Marsh

This week I have multi-published and speedy, hugely talented author Nicola Marsh talking online writing courses. As it happens, I too have done the course Nicola mentions and I agree that it is fantastic. At the end of Nic's post, don't forget to leave a comment about your own fab course experiences :)


I’m a sucker for ‘how to’ writing books.

Love buying them.

Love flicking through them.

Love seeing them lined up on my bookshelf.

Hate that I don’t refer back to them again!

With constant deadlines and busy boys to raise, I don’t have the time to flick through resource books the way I’d like to.

What I do flick through time and time again are my notes from 2 brilliant online courses:

LAURIE SCHNEBLY CAMPBELL’S Plotting via Motivation and Plotting from Start to Finish (Master Class.)

These 2 courses inspired me. Laurie’s class notes were brilliant, her motivation checklist worth the fee alone.

While I’m more a pantser than a plotter, using snippets learned from Laurie’s classes I can pretty much nail down my characters’ conflict and motivations from the start these days, and that usually saves a load of trouble later down the track around the ‘sagging middle.’

I can’t speak highly enough of Laurie and her willingness to answer questions offline during the courses too.

You can sign up for her course alerts via her website

(As an aside, my first Romantic Times magazine Top Pick, MARRIAGE: FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? was dedicated to Laurie because of the help she gave me during the writing of this book. I credit the Top Pick to her!)

At the time I did Laurie’s courses, I went through a phase where I did many online courses. My recommendation is to check the credentials of the presenters.

Do your research. Choose wisely. Have fun.

Because we never stop learning.

Care to share any online courses you’ve found particularly useful? (Or another ‘how to’ book I absolutely must add to my bookshelf?)

Melbourne-based Nicola Marsh has written 30 books for Harlequin Romance & Presents series, and BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD is her first mainstream contemporary romance/romantic comedy/chicklit/women’s fiction novel. Think ‘Sex and the City’ meets ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

She loves chatting and can be found on her website blog Facebook Twitter

Her blog tour for BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD kicks off next week and she’ll be providing loads of fabulous Indian recipes as part of her Bolly-Bites. Get your spices ready and join her in cooking up a storm! Plus she’ll be giving away one copy a day of BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD for 3 weeks!


Catherine said...

Hi Nicola and Rach!
I'm a bit of an online course's like compulsory reading when an email appears in your inbox. Somehow it's easier to read that than a How To book.

At the moment I'm having a bit of a "feed the Muse" fixation. I'm currently doing Mary O'Gara's course (about how you write). She and my Muse like each other. When I do her courses, my Muse sings.

Love online courses!


beck nicholas said...

Love online courses too although i haven't done one for a while.
Have done those you mentioned and agree they were fab.

Anne Van said...

I loved Laurie's class!!! Learned so much!

Fiona Lowe said...

I really found Margie Lawson's courses fabulous.
I can't wait for Busted in Bollywood to come out. it's on my Christmas list!

Sue BT said...

Hi Nicola and Rach!
I've enjoyed all of the Devon Ellington courses that I've done through Savvy authors this year.

My favorite three were about unsticking a stuck book, advanced dialogue, and setting.

It's great to find a teacher that you 'click' with. Every exercise I've done with her has helped deepen my knowledge of my story and characters.

I love online courses too!

Coleen Kwan said...

I love browsing for online courses. There are so many to choose from. I've heard Margie Lawon is great, so it's good to see Fiona recommending them.

scarlet wilson said...

Rach and I did Shirley Jump's Good to Sold around 18 months ago and the handouts were fabulous. It was also really useful seeing the feedback other people got on their work. Really enjoyed it!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Nicola and Rachael!

Thanks for the links to the online courses. Earlier I did Angela James- Self Editing Before you hit send.

Congrats on the Busted in Bollywood release Nicola!

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Congratulations on Busted in Bollywood. The title is really great. Love it.

As for online courses I've done a few of Margie Lawsons, but thanks for the link. I would like to do a few more so I'll check it out.

All the best,
Suzanne :)

Nicola Marsh said...

that's what I found. Once I did a few, I became hooked!

Something more appealing about doing it practically than just reading a book.

Feeding the muse course sounds interesting!

Nicola Marsh said...

Laurie is fabulous, isn't she Beck and Anne?

I learned heaps!

Nicola Marsh said...

Funny you should mention Margie, Fiona.

I enjoyed her courses too. And she recently approached me to be on 'pubbed author graduates' blog.
I was stoked!
Then I realised she's reading Busted in Bollywood and analysing passages...yikes!

Should be interesting...
And I hope you've been good this year, otherwise Santa may not bring you BinB for Christmas ;)

Nicola Marsh said...

Hi Sue!

Savvy Authors run some fantastic online courses.
I only discovered them this year and the choice is fabulous.

I did a great witchcraft online course with Deborah Blake and it took my YA manuscript to another level. Gave me huge lightbulb moments!

The ones you did sound interesting.

Nicola Marsh said...

Margie's courses are great, Coleen, and her notes extensive.

The courses blew my mind (in a good way!) because of the amount of work she packs in.

I had a hard time keeping up, so preferred to refer back to the notes later. Gold!

Nicola Marsh said...

Handouts are really important to me in an online course, Scarlet, because I often don't have time to keep up due to deadlines, kids, life, etc...!

I'll have to check out Shirley's (she's a fellow Harlequin Romance author, she's great!)

Nicola Marsh said...

Hi Nas (and thanks for your glowing review for Busted in Bollywood!)

Angela James was advertising that course at the RWAus conference this year.

How did you like it?

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Suzanne, I love the title too :)

There are so many great online courses available now, it's just a matter of finding what suits your needs best.

Have fun exploring them!

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks to Rach for having me here today.

I'm busy doing research for a few days but will pop back Sunday!

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks so much Nicola for visiting. Seems we're all online course lovers here :)

Anonymous said...

I'm taking a break from online courses right now (day job time pressure-boo hiss!). I also love Margie Lawson and Savvy Authors courses. Shirley Jump's are fabulous too though she does reuse a lot of the copious handouts in other courses- I got the teensiest feeling of "Done one, done them all," though of course the real learning in Shirley's courses comes from her amazing crits/edits of student work.

I do feel like the courses and the how-to-write reading I'm doing is improving my writing. Now I just need to fire up my motivation again and stick to one project long enough to get something ready to sub!

Nic, I wanted to ask if Busted in Bollywood is going to be available as an e-book? The only versions I can find available are paperback. Really really want to read it!

Rachael Johns said...

Great question Autumn, I can't wait to hear Nic's answer :)

Rachael Johns said...

HI Autumn - I asked Nic and she said Busted In Bollywood will be available from e-book shops.

Nicola Marsh said...

You're right, Autumn, there can be a bit of 'overkill' with online courses (I did too many in a short space of time.)

I highly recommend choosing wisely for what you want to get out of it.

And yes, BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD will be available as an ebook!
Amazon, B&N, all ebook stores!