Course Description 2019


Important note before we begin:
We have moved to our new location
104 West Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, FL

Saturday, June 1, 10 am – Noon

To Outline or Not to Outline

Some authors outline, some don’t. This class will teach writers the pros and cons of outlining. Students will learn examples of different ways to outline and discover sources of information on outlining. The talk will include time for questions and encourage audience participation.

$25 per person.

Instructor: M.J. Carlson


Saturday, June 8, 10 am – Noon

Using Interior Description

Use interior description more effectively to enhance your plot, your characters, and influence your readers. In this workshop, you’ll learn that the materials, fibers, and techniques that make up structures and furnishings can be used as clues and mistakes. How are walls, roofs, and floors constructed? Some windows are easy to escape from and some aren’t. Just about every type of product can work for you including paints, solvents, fabrics, furniture, cabinets, etc. You’ll learn proper terminology and expand your vocabulary as well.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Victoria Landis


Saturday, June 15, 10 am – Noon

Self-Promotion Doesn’t Have to Cost Big Bucks

This interactive workshop will introduce you to the many free online opportunities for authors to promote themselves and their work. We’ll look at the different online sites available,  literary groups, and readers who can help increase your fan-base  If you’re a newbie, we’ll even discuss how you can build a following and grow a mailing list.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Marcia King-Gamble



Saturday, June 22, 10 am – Noon

Who’s Talking Here? Point of View

Who’s telling your story? Is your novel in first person? Third person? Or something else? Each method has advantages and disadvantages. Your novel’s success depends on your choice. This class will help you choose the best voice for your story. The class includes handouts and examples.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Elaine Viets


Saturday, June 29, 10 am – Noon

Edit Yourself

You’ve written your first draft—now what? In this interactive session with an award-winning author who’s also a professional editor, you will learn effective and (mostly) painless ways to self-edit for maximum clarity and impact. In-class exercises and handy take-home guides will help you rewrite like a pro.

$25 per person.

Instructor: D.J. Niko


Saturday, July 13, 10 am – Noon

Muddle in the Middle

The “boggy middle” has claimed many a writer, but with a little planning and forethought, you can sail right through it. In this workshop, you’ll discover why the middle is such a troublesome chunk of the novel, and how it’s really where all the fun happens in a story. You’ll also learn how to avoid getting sucked into the mire, what to do to keep your pace moving, and some nifty plotting tricks to help you create stronger story arcs and conflicts.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Janice Hardy


Saturday, July 20, 10 am – Noon

Weaving Story Threads to Create Powerful Beginnings and Endings

In this class, we’ll explore how skillfully weaving story elements maximizes the impact of both the beginning and ending of your story. Learn new ways to deliver emotion in your writing by meaningfully tying these strands together. Discover existing threads in your work and new techniques to best utilize them and fashion more.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Christopher Hawke


Saturday, July 27, 10 am – Noon

Forensics for Writers

This class will focus on the CSI effect and how writing affects the real world of crime scene. It will show how using industry experts will keep the writing real so the reader will get a realistic view of crime scene investigations.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Sharon Plotkin


Saturday, August 3, 10 am – Noon

You Don’t Say…Getting Your Characters Talking

Crisp and focused dialogue is important to any novel, no matter the genre. Some writers lean heavily on narrative, resulting lots of “stuff” happening but no communication between characters. Other authors fall victim to the “talking heads” syndrome, with their stories becoming nothing more than action-free gabfests. Learn how to successfully balance your dialogue with your narrative, create distinctive voices for your characters, and effectively use dialogue as a storytelling tool.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Diane A.S. Stuckart


Saturday, August 10, 10 am – Noon

Mystery Writing: It Starts With A Crime

Mystery writers and criminals have one thing in common: the successful ones plot their crimes. Discover the elements of the perfect crime for your story. Learn the components of a police investigation and how that information is critical to your first act. Master the reverse-engineering required to write a gripping mystery and illustrate how the villain’s actions motivate your sleuth.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Micki Browning


Saturday, August 17, 10 am – Noon

Structuring a Scene

The scene is the building-block of the novel. In it, one character drives the action, another resists. Someone wins. Goal. Conflict. Disaster. A scene can contain setups and payoffs, misleads and reveals. It promises a future or upends what the reader thought she knew. A scene immerses us in setting, compresses and expands time. A scene can lie and can open our eyes to new truths. We will look at several scenes and discuss how they work.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Alison McMahan


Saturday, August 24, 10 am – Noon

Agents, Query Letters, & Synopses

Are you ready to get a literary agent? Multi-published author Nancy J. Cohen will offer tips on how to find the right agent for you. Once you’ve selected an agent for submission, you’ll need a polished query letter and a synopsis that sells. Learn how to write these sales tools and what else you might need to go from aspiring writer to agented author. Attendees are invited to bring a sample query letter for their book to the workshop for feedback.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Nancy J. Cohen


Saturday, September 7, 10 am – Noon

Something Went Terribly Wrong

Does your writing avoid clichés like the plague? When you film a video, does it impact your funds? Will you be finishing momentarily? Did Kennedy see mountains in Dallas right before he was assassinated in 1993? Wrong, wrong, wrong! Every time you introduce a cliché, a bureaucratic word that’s dead wrong, a dumb grammatical mistake or a really stupid error of geography and history, it can doom your writing.

$25 per person.

Instructor: Eliot Kleinberg



FL Authors Academy Has Talent

As the finale for our FL Authors Academy at Murder on the Beach, we are planning an event “FL Authors Academy Has Talent!”  This will be an open mike for the attendees of the workshops to read from their work in progress and get feedback from three multi-published author judges:

  • NY Times bestselling author Charles Todd;
  • Literary Agent Dianna Collier-Warner, owner Collier & Associates Literary Agency;
  • Diane Stuckart, NYT bestselling and award-winning author of sixteen traditionally published romance and mystery novels


The Date is Saturday, September 14, 2019
10 am – Noon.

Here’s how it will work:

There will be a maximum of 10 or 12 readers.

Each will read for 3 minutes from their work in progress. If you are shy, Joanne or Stacey will read your work anonymously.

Each judge will then give a short, constructive verbal critique of the work just read.

There will be an audience, but they will not critique the readers.

At the end, the judges confer among themselves for the one reader who in  their opinion, has the best work.

A prize will be awarded to the winner.

To Qualify As A Reader You Must:

  • Have attended at least one of our FL Authors Academy workshops
  • Have a current work in progress
  • Pay a fee of $25
  • Bring 3 copies, double spaced, of the 5-6 pages you intend to read

Spaces are limited to 12 readers so sign up now!

You may sign up in person, by email, or phone
(561-279-7790). We take cash, Mastercard, Visa, Discover or Amex.