WR 450: Writing for Publication (Spring term 2015)

About a year ago, the English department here at Western Oregon University approached me about possibly teaching a course on writing and publishing — steeped in the kind of practical, nuts and bolts knowledge that someone needs to know to write for publication today. I’m pleased to announce that it’s finally come together, and I’ll be teaching the course Spring term of 2015.

WR 450: Writing for Publication meets once a week, Wednesdays from 4:30-7:20, with the hope that we might get a mix of both traditional and nontraditional students.  It’s technically a hybrid class, with three hours face-to-face per week and one hour online.

The course description is below, followed by a brief Q&A about me, the course, and the kinds of students who might benefit.  Spring registration at WOU opens at the end of February.

WR 450:  Writing for Publication (4)

An advanced course on writing and publishing for a commercial audience.  Half the course concentrates on the techniques and skills needed to write  successful popular fiction; the other half concentrates on publishing, with equal emphasis on both traditional and self-publishing options. Topics include: scene and structure, creating compelling characters, developing a unique voice, manuscript submission, literary agents, copyediting, contracts, ebook creation, Print-on-Demand, movie options, and many other areas of interest.  While the primary focus is on short stories and novels, arrangements can be made with the instructor for writers of non-fiction. This is a HYBRID course; students should expect to spend 2-3 hours each week online in addition to the Wednesday night classroom time.

  • Instructor:  Scott Carter
  • Date/Time:  Wednesdays, 4:30-7:20 (with one hour online)
  • Location:  TBD


Q: Who should take this course?

A:   People interested in writing for a commercial audience — in other words, writing as a professional endeavor.  What does it mean to write for a commercial audience?  Generally, it means writing for some combination of money, audience, or prestige.  Should you pursue a traditional publisher or self-publish?  Contracts?  Royalties and advances? Literary agents? What are the elements of great fiction, fiction that sells?  There are no prerequisites, but this is a 400 level course, so the expectation is that the student will have done some amount of writing before attending this class.  If unsure, however, email me at carters@wou.edu.

Q:  What are the instructor’s credentials?

A:  You can read about my publishing history on my author website (www.scottwilliamcarter.com), and a bit about my work at WOU on my university website (www.wou.edu/wp/carters).

Q:  Will it be taught again next year?

A:  If it goes well, I hope to teach it every year, but there are no guarantees.  If you’re interested, I’d suggest taking it now.

Comments from Scott’s Workshops

“Scott William Carter takes a conversational approach to his workshops that engages listeners and facilitates an open discussion in the world of writing and publishing. It was evident in his presentation that he was knowledgeable about the publishing industry and he was able to present the information in a way that was easy to understand. After having him speak at the Willamette Writers Salem Chapter, we had several attendees say he was the best presenter that we’ve ever had and we would definitely like to have him back again in the future.” — Heather Cuthbertson, Willamette Writers

“Scott has the rare ability to make learning anything about computers and programming and the new world of book publishing seem easy. He can get across the toughest topics with ease in an understandable way. I wouldn’t be making the money I am, or publishing so many of my books electronically, without Scott’s expert leadership. You can’t go wrong with Scott helping you.”  Dean Wesley Smith, USA Today Bestselling Author, Oregon Coast Professional Fiction Writers Workshops

“It was this class that enabled me to start my own press…Scott translates geek like no one else I’ve ever met and be doing so changed every aspect of my writing and business life. Thanks, Scott!” – Cindie Geddes, Lucky Bat Books

“Scott’s a terrific writer, he knows how to operate a writing business, and he is one of the most tech savvy people around. Not to mention that he’s a really nice guy, eager to offer his knowledge to one and all.”  —Mario Milosevic, author of The Last Giant

“He talked a lot about the changes in the publishing industry, writers taking control of their own careers, and the options available for writers. It was well thought out but not stiff, serious but light, and just all in all well done.” T.I. Cooper