Yellow Highlighter Classes are the most popular classes that I teach. I started teaching them a couple of years ago because the part of my classes where I went over excerpts from works in progress were so popular with my students. Generally speaking people learn better and retain more when they have an opportunity to practice implementing the tips and techniques they’ve been taught in a lecture based setting. That’s why teachers give assignments and homework and it’s why we nag our children to complete the assignments and the homework. If the assignments and homework didn’t aid learning there would be little point. 🙂
Yellow Highlighter Classes go a step beyond just allowing people to practice techniques we talked about in class. They allow students a practical way to get professional feedback on a work in progress. The Yellow Highlighter markups address all of the issues that I might cover in a dozen different workshops…like what contributes to a strong opening…how to manage point of view…how to deepen characterization…how to deepen emotional tension or create more sexual chemistry. In the Yellow Highlighter Classes we focus on the issues in each specific manuscript. As I go through each excerpt my mental question to myself is–can I make this stronger. If the answer is no, then I leave it alone and we move on. If the answer is yes, then I make comments indicating how I think the passage can be made stronger. What this means for authors is that the feedback is very specific to the author and to the work in question. We don’t spend hours talking about things that are fine as they are. We spend our time tackling the areas that are not as strong as they could be.
In these classes I go over the excerpts students post in the same way that I go over material that I edit for publishers, and in fact some of the participants in my classes are there on the publisher’s dime because we are editing the manuscript for publication via the class.
I don’t bill myself as a proofreader or grammarian. I am more of a story doctor and I look at story elements to make sure that the story is beginning in the right place, that it draws the reader in. I look to make sure that the characters’ motivations are clear to the reader all the way through. I look at whether characters are likeable, memorable, and unique. I look at the character growth arcs to assure that they do develop throughout the story so that there is a sense that the character’s growth is believable and he/she does deserve his/her happy ever after ending. I look at dialogue to make sure that it is anchored, that it conveys thoughts, feelings, and that it moves the plot forward in some way. I look at the structure of the story and gauge beginning, middle, end. I look for places where my interest wanes and alert authors to those, often suggesting ways to increase the tension in those areas.
In short, Yellow Highlighter Classes are intense, hands on, opportunities to really get down in the trenches with a manuscript.
Some students have told me that the classes are like writing with an editor holding their hand…that it helps to alleviate the feeling of aloneness that can sometimes creep into the writing process. Some find that it makes them feel more confident as there is someone to help them tackle the manuscript’s problem points. Others find that posting excerpts each day provides motivation and structure and that they get more done when they are in class than they do in the periods when we are on a break. Some find the classes helpful in moving a manuscript from NaNo rough to publisher ready. Participants have expressed numerous reasons that they enjoy the classes and count them among their favorites.
If you’ve taken other workshops but are eager to try something a bit more hands on and a bit more focused on the problem points in YOUR manuscript, this workshop may be just what you are looking for.
Tuition for this class is sold by the package. A single package allows the participant to post 700 words per day for markup. This is a three day a week class. We meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Participants who want to submit more than 700 words are encouraged to purchase additional packages to acquire the number of words they want to post. For example, if you want to post 1400 words a day, purchase 2 packages. If you want to post 2100 words per day purchase 3 packages and so on.
These workshops are held online and so are not held at a specific time of the day. Instead they are like a conversation between me and the participants that goes on daily over the course of the class. This makes the classes well suited to students who work full time or those who work odd hours or for those who live in geographic regions several hours ahead or several hours behind those of us in the US. Classes usually do have participants from several countries.