For Writers: Make Your Scenes Work Harder

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been invited to teach an online writing class with Pennwriters, a writers group located in Pennsylvania (but open to everyone).

The course starts on August 5, so you can enroll until then if you haven’t already. Here’s the course overview from the Pennwriters website:


Have you ever written a scene and felt like it was not taking your story anywhere? What about scenes that are necessary to the plot but are just plain boring? This workshop will help you use techniques to make those scenes work (at least) twice as hard, bringing interest and significance to your writing.
Professionally-written pieces draw readers in, providing information without the reader even realizing they’re being told anything. This is the mark of a good storyteller, and it’s the best gift a writer can give to a reader: total enjoyment. This course will explore ways of taking your writing to the next level, hooking readers and editors, and making your work the next great page-turner.

I read a book every week, and I’ve read enough of the “slush pile” to learn what works and what doesn’t. There’s nothing I love more than a good page turner. I’ve taken my observations from teaching classes and workshops—and from reading hundreds of books and manuscripts—and consolidated them into four steps you can take to make your manuscript work harder, attracting readers and editors.

For this course, you’ll need: a working manuscript (something you’ve been working on—it can be finished or in-progress, and it doesn’t have to be long. If you’re feeling brave, you can even use something you’ve published); a book you’ve read recently or remember fairly well; an editing program that can read and save as .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf; your creativity! For this course, I’ll also offer a full critique of the first chapter of a working manuscript, highlighting techniques discussed in the lectures.



Date: August 5 – August 26, 2013 (last class August 26th; course officially ends September 2)
Instructor: Val Muller
Email to Instructor:


Week One: Verb and Word Choice
Monday, August 5—Introduction to Using Language Efficiently

Week Two: Point of View
Monday, August 12—Lesson 2: Using Point of View Effectively

Week Three: Descriptive Language
Monday, August 19—Lesson 3: Using Advanced Elements of Language Effectively

Week Four: Symbolism
Monday, August 26—Lesson 4: Symbolism for Characterization and Development
Thursday, August 29—Conclusion

 Enroll here

Val Muller—Bio
Val Muller is the author of the Corgi Capers mystery series for kids. She has written dozens of short stories and had numerous submissions published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her horror novel, Faulkner’s Apprentice, was just released with Crowded Quarantine Publications, and the first book in her young adult supernatural trilogy, The Man With the Crystal Ankh, is scheduled for publication with World Castle publications. Right out of college, Val wrote travel articles for Lancaster, Berks, and Chester County Business2Business magazines. She then moved to teaching so she could devote her summers to novel writing. She currently teaches high school English and creative writing and offers workshops to everyone from elementary kids to adults. She’s the editor at Freedom Forge Press and maintains a blog, where she posts original flash fiction and book reviews weekly. You can find out more about Val at and

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