Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D.

Bestselling Author ~ Writing Coach

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Presentation: Online Writing Course

Launching Your Writing Career With a Successful Non-Fiction Book

This online course is actually a structured program of individualized coaching. It consists of eight sessions with written assignments. Hal will respond individually to each of your assignments through email. His feedback is detailed, covering voice, focus, point of view, appropriateness for the market, clarity and completeness of the concept, suggestions for improvement, pertinent information about the ways the publishing industry works, and guidance for writing an attention-getting first chapter.

This course is based on Hal's 35 plus years as a freelance developmental editor, helping over 200 authors develop and publish their books, as well as 30 successful non-fiction books of his own. Information is current since Hal has ongoing professional associations with large and small publishers, literary agents, and printers throughout the United States and overseas.

Hal is a graduate of San Francisco State University's Creative Writing program and is the author of more than 30 successful books of his own. His popular book Write From the Heart: Unleashing the Power of Your Creativity, is now in its 5th printing. Published by New World Library, it was featured as a Writers Digest Book Club alternate selection. It is highly praised by bestselling authors Julia Cameron and Christina Baldwin.

As a writing coach Hal has helped over 200 authors develop successful projects, including several New York Times non-fiction bestsellers and Oprah regulars. His own books are published in several languages and he has freelanced as a developmental editor for a dozen or more publishers on both coasts.

The Online Writing Course (Eight Sessions)

Session One:

What is your Mission?

What do you wish to accomplish by writing your book?

What would you like your readers to experience and what ideas, feelings, knowledge or skills would you like them to come away with? 

Your mission may be to entertain, amuse, heal, edify, etc. Bennett's text gives clear guidance, with a short assignment for articulating your mission.

Session Two:

Why will readers love your book? 

Successful non-fiction satisfies specific "perceived needs" of a group of readers. Bestselling authors identify their readers' needs early on and ascertain which of their own resources they can draw upon for writing the book.

Bennett's text, with short assignment, helps you identify your readers' perceived needs and the personal resources you bring to your book.

Session Three:

How will you bring readers into your world?

Just as in good fiction, the most creative and successful non-fiction books bring their readers into the author's world.

This is an important technique that is rarely discussed. In this session you'll read examples of how this is done, with a short writing assignment to demonstrate how you will do this for your readers.

Session Four:

The importance of being focused

Realtors say there are three things which determine the value of a property: Location, location, and location. For authors there are three things that will determine success with writing non-fiction: Focus, focus, and focus. 

In this session you'll learn what this means, why it's important, and do a written assignment to describe what will keep your writing focused.

Session Five:

Creative techniques to make your non-fiction leap off the page

Novelistic techniques such as dialogue between "characters," clear physical descriptions that focus on the five senses, and a strong narrative voice, make writing non-fiction fun and reading it exciting and engaging. 

In this assignment you'll use these techniques to drive home an important idea or concept. 

Session Six:

Best Laid Plans

 This is an opportunity to get professional feedback on your chapter outline. Bennett will spell out some of the basics, then it's up to you to write your chapter outline and submit it for feedback and suggestions. 

Armed with this outline, you are well on your way to starting your book.

Session Seven:

Mastering the Rules of the Game

Many writing projects are rejected by literary agents and publishers simply because the project is not presented well. 

In this final session, you'll learn how to make a winning presentation and will have an opportunity to ask your own questions about how to get published.

Session Eight:

How to write an attention grabbing first chapter

A good first chapter grabs readers' attention and gets them sharply focused on what they'll find in the pages to come. In this session you'll learn why this sharp focus is important and what you can do to create it. 

This is a valuable skill, whether you are self-publishing or going after a major contract with a New York publisher.


All articles and images in this website are copyrighted by Hal Zina Bennett 2003-2014.  Written permission must be obtained before use of articles and images. Last modified: October 07, 2010