At Realm Makers, we hand-pick our faculty to make sure you learn from the best and the brightest minds in speculative fiction. As we receive their course names and descriptions, we’ll update them here, so check back!

 

Continuing Sessions

6 hours of teaching on an in-depth topic from top-notch industry professionals

 

 

 

Kevin Kaiser: (Outlaw Studios, co-manager with Ted Dekker)

Making a Ruckus: Marketing for Writers (or  How to be in the Internet, Not of It)

In this practical session, you’ll learn how to view marketing in a whole new way so you can begin selling yourself and your work without selling out.

 

 

Robert Liparulo (New York Times bestselling author)

Embrace the Strange

In this  six-hour continuing session, bestselling author Robert Liparulo examines the value, the importance—even the necessity—of being “strange” to achieve success as a writer. That uniqueness, that difference each writer brings to his or her stories is what sets him or her apart from the thousands of others vying for the attention of book publishers and readers. But being toounusual translates into a heap of rejection slips. The key to  publishing success is balancing the strange with the familiar. It’s why most “how to write” books don’t work: They tell you the common denominators of successful stories, but often not how to infuse your own uniqueness into these “rules”—when and how to break them.

 

Admit it, you already have a head start on strange; it’s time to learn how to use it to plant your freak flag atop the bestseller mountain.

 

Liparulo will explore three primary areas of tapping into your own version of strange: Making your stories strange enough to intrigue—and not turn off—publishers and readers; finding your strange (unique) voice that appeals to readers and instantly identifies you as a favorite author; and using your strange habits and inclinations (from the music you listen to while writing to when you write, and much more) to get all that strangeness from your head onto the page.

 

 

Mary Weber and Jim Rubart (Award winning authors)

Heroes, Villains, & the Heart of Your Story: Building an Epic Book from Start to Finish
Heroes? Check. Villains? Of course. And does your story have heart? Without question. But how can you combine these three elements in such a way that your novel breaks out and is embraced by more than just your critique group? Come join this humorous and creative continuing session that explains book building from start to finish—including favorite plotting methods, diversity, themes, addressing sex and other issues, creating believable heroes and villains—as well as a list of easy and engaging ways to ground your spec story for the modern reader. Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek behind the scenes at what Mary Weber and James L. Rubart use in crafting their own stories that have made them both bestselling and Christy-Award-winning authors. Be ready for facts, fun, and a whole lot of encouragement as we talk about the details of story and the heart of Jesus.

 

 

Jill Williamson (Award winning science fiction and fantasy author)

***TEENS ONLY***
GUARDIANS OF GOOD WRITING:
This summer, your books won’t write themselves. Obviously.
 
From Middle Earth to Hogwarts, from Arrakis to the Starship Enterprise, science fiction, fantasy, and all of their wonderful sub-genres transport readers to incredible worlds. How do you go about creating such a world with its own history, politics, religion, magic system, and culture? How much time should you spend on world-building? How do you know if your world is the right location for your plot and characters? Is magic a must? And what about your idea? Is your plot big enough to support an entire novel? Are your characters engaging? How many points of view should you have? How many books in the series? And once you’ve finished your book, how do you edit it so people will want to buy it and read it and love it as much as you do?
In this class we will cover six major topics—premise, world-building, map-making, characters, plot, and editing—with time in-between for questions, hands-on exercises, and as much mentoring as we can fit in. No matter what speculative fiction subgenre you write, you’ll learn how to craft tales that suck readers into a world of wonder.

 

Electives

One-hour courses that equip you to tackle specific challenges in your writing

Lisa Mangum (Senior acquisitions editor, Shadow Mountain Publishing)

The Editor Is In: A Live Editing Demonstration

Ever wonder what goes on in an editor’s brain when presented with a new manuscript? Lisa Mangum, Managing Editor of Shadow Mountain, will edit five pages of an unpublished manuscript—LIVE—and discuss the kinds of things she changes (and the kinds of things she doesn’t). The class will cover the principles of both content and copy editing techniques.

Make Me: Character Motivations and Goals

 A strong story needs strong characters. And the strongest characters have motivations that not only drive the plot forward but also keep the tension high. Learn how to identify your character’s motivations and how to use those motivations to develop a consistent theme for your story.

David Farland (New York Times bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction)

Essence of Creating Magic Systems

In this workhshop, Dave will discuss the price of magic, making sure that your magic ain’t just fuzzy science, how to create a magic system with “deep appeal,” and how to use sensory input to make it feel real.

Plotting a Bestselling Series

Sally Apokadak (Literary Agent, Leslie Stobbe Agency)

From Wild Things to Harry Potter: Writing Spec Fic for 12-and-under readers 

We’ll look at two aspects of popular spec fic titles written for young kids: story world and empowered heroes. These are the two things that make spec fic most attractive to young readers.

Weaving in Your Worldview: How to Change the World, One Reader at a Time

Non-Christian authors are preaching like crazy through their MG and YA novels. We need to preach as well. There’s a difference, though, between preaching and being preachy. Come to this class to learn about preaching skillfully through speculative novels.

Mary Weber

What to Do When No One Is Buying What You’re Offering

It takes about two minutes in the publishing business to realize not everyone’s buying what you’re selling (particularly if you write “outside the lines”). But even more painful perhaps is the fact that sometimes they’re not even interested. So what do you do? How do you write what publishers and readers want while staying true to the heart of your story? Are there other options to getting a foot in the door – and if so, how do you get there? In this class, Christy & Carol Award winning fantasy author, Mary Weber, talks about the reality of spec fic publishing, strategies to make it work for you, and what staying true to your heart really means in a business that often feels like it’s crushing your spirit.

 

Networking Beyond Your Mom: How to Build & Expand Author Connections

If marketing is king in the world of publishing, then networking is queen. Sure you need a fantastic story, solid platform, and strong grasp of social media. But you also need connections to help carry those skills and assets. Relational “bridges,” so to speak. So who do you need them with? And where do you find them? Even more importantly – how do you build them authentically? Join award-winning, HarperCollins fantasy author, Mary Weber, in a creative conversation about reaching out to expand yourself and your options, and connecting in a world where who you know can hugely boost what you do.