Become a Better Writer Through Your Local Library
by Nick Nebelsky
For the past three years, I have concentrated on writing and illustrating children’s books and story apps. Most recently, my books have centered on a turtle with a square shell who gets bullied.
The books have done quite well and were featured in eight Costco stores throughout Arizona and North Carolina. As apps, both made two “Top 10 Apps” lists, one from Barnes and Noble, and one from SmartAppsForKids.com. I’ve also published 10 apps, seven of which are children’s story apps, with nearly 20,000 downloads. I was on my way to illustrating the next book in the series when something changed my course. I came up with the idea to write my first novel. I wanted to challenge myself and push the boundaries of what I thought I could do with my writing. I also realized that in order to do this, I needed a little help. That’s when I took to the Internet to see if I could find an affordable online class that was also interesting enough to make me want to learn how to write again.
The next question was how in the world I was going to write my book and take a class at the same time. I looked around at different online writing courses to see if I could find a writing class that would teach me about writing good dialogue, story structure, and building great characters. What I found, after a lot of digging, was that the Chandler Public Library, my local library, has several free writing classes through Gale Courses – provided you have a Chandler Public Library card.
The class I signed up for was “Beginning Writer’s Workshop,” taught by Ann Linquist. I have learned so much from Ann’s class that I wanted to share some of it with you. Each class is broken down into 12 lessons which begin every two to three days. There’s a lot of reading, coupled with a lot of practice. At only six weeks, it’s a short class. This isn’t like some of the schools where you can work at your own pace. The whole focus of the class is to teach you to write as much as you can. I found Ann’s chapters very interesting and well organized. Within each lesson are assignments, FAQs, resource materials, and a quiz.
I’m learning so much about getting back to the basics and I’m learning how to edit my own work. There’s also a lot of great feedback from other students in the class. I’m nearly half way through and have enjoyed it so much that I’ve enrolled in a second class. Check with your local library to see what kinds of classes it might offer; each system has a different system.*
Please note, I’m not being paid to promote this class; nor do I have any interest in this class, other than to help my fellow authors and anyone else who wants to become a better writer. And the best news is that the class is free!
*The Phoenix Public Library offers more than 45 online writing classes, as well as many offerings for language instruction, computer tutorials, career guidance, dozens of research tools, and many other virtual offerings. As with the Chandler Library, you must have a Phoenix Public Library card to use their system.
For more than 30 years, Nicholas Nebelsky has created everything from greeting cards to short stories to children’s books to trade show presentations to screenplays and radio dramas. He currently spends his days listening to a lot of music while writing his first YA novel and contemplating his next venture. For additional information, please visit his web site.