From Novice to Novelist

with John DeDakis

March 22, 2023 • 6 week master class

Meet online at Scribophile and via instructor-led Zoom video chat

Perfect for
Aspiring writers of all genres, with or without written material

Small class size • Seats are limited

Getting a novel to the finish line is tough work. Drafting, editing, the publishing industry... there’s a lot you need to know to see your novel in print.

Novelist and writing coach John DeDakis is a former editor on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and a former White House correspondant. After publishing five award-winning novels, he knows exactly what it takes to turn an idea into a published novel—and he’s here to share the entire process with you, from start to finish.

Join John and a small group of writers in this transformative six-week class as he guides you through the novel writing and publishing process. You’ll learn everything you need to turn the scenes playing in your head into a published book in the hands of your eager fans.

Along the way, you’ll learn how to tap into your subconscious and life experiences to transform them into a book-length project filled with engaging characters, a complex plot, snappy dialogue, and memorable settings. John will show you how to follow your curiosity about people of other genders, races, ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds so that your writing is knowledgeable and authentic. You’ll also learn techniques for making your scenes come alive on the page, so that the reader is compelled to keep reading; and how to stay organized when your creativity feels out of control.

Writing exercises will give you a hands-on feel for how to add texture, dynamism, and drama to a story, as John shares practical advice on the rewriting process. You’ll also explore the world of agents and the publishing industry, including marketing your book and overcoming your writing and marketing fears. All of this insider knowledge is the key stepping stone to finally publishing your novel.

This class is carefully designed to teach the knowledge and give you the confidence it takes to write and publish a gripping novel, from start to finish.

By the end of the six weeks you’ll be prepared to complete and perfect a novel, and you’ll have the knowledge, skills, and understanding necessary to find an agent and sign a publishing deal.

Writers of all skill levels and genres are welcomed. No previously-written material is necessary—but if you do have part of a novel written, you’re welcome to bring it.

Some of John’s career highlights

CNN The White House Fast Track Claggett Center Fake Sistes in Crime Troubled Water The Loft Bullet in the Chamber The Muse Writers Center The Writer’s Center Bluff

What you’ll learn

After you finish this class, you’ll:

  • Have a birds-eye view of all the moving parts involved in the novel-writing process.

  • Learn how to tap into your creative subconscious to access the "write-what-you-know" details of your life that will inform your fiction.

  • Gain practical skills for igniting your curiosity, enabling you to get out of your comfort zone and into the lives of people of other genders, cultures, and ages.

  • Gain practical rewriting, proofreading, and copyediting skills that will add depth, texture, detail, and professionalism to your manuscript.

  • Learn about the publishing process, including the world of agents and publishers, and how to navigate that process successfully.

Come away with the confidence and encouragement to start—or complete—your novel.

Class outline

  • Week One: An overview of writing and publishing a novel

  • Week Two: Writing in the voice of others

  • Week Three: Staying organized throughout the process

  • Week Four: How to write key scenes

  • Week Five: Characterization through dialogue

  • Week Six: Getting an agent, getting noticed, and facing your fears

Student praise for John DeDakis

The class was a good mix of lecture/informative material and practical, hands-on assignments. I love that you brought your whole being into the workshop. This wasn't an academic “here's some information on writing,” but here's a particular writer's life, inspiration, and practical tools. I also admire that you were so vulnerable and open with your struggles and losses and how you took your grief and molded it into art.

—Maliha Balala, The Writer's Center, Bethesda, Maryland

John is a great teacher, very patient, kind, and gracious. I felt supported and empowered to write—and to share my work.

—Anonymous, The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

John DeDakis's workshop was power-packed with all I need to up my game as I continue my efforts to write a novel. In a concise, personal way, John walked us through a methodology that makes this insurmountable task seem possible.

—Susan Feit, social justice strategist, Norfolk, Virginia

John DeDakis provided the perfect setting for the class in terms of demeanor. He provided thought-provoking questions and ideas and a comfort zone in which to engage in class participation. John planted the seed of courage in that we, too, can move from novice to novelist. He richly deserved the round of applause that exploded on our last day. It was a fantastic class.

—Anonymous, The Chautauqua Institution, New York

From Novice to Novelist is a high quality online writing course taught by an experienced and compassionate teacher. The writing exercises helped me have a breakthrough on how to write a scene.

—Anonymous, The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

Mr. DeDakis’s class changed my lethargic indifference to motivation and enthusiasm, enabling me to get my first novel traditionally published.

—F. M. Deemyad, author, The Sky Worshipers

From Novice to Novelist was the best course I have been involved in for the past ten years. John DeDakis was very down to earth, insightful, and full of valuable information.

—Anonymous, The Chautauqua Institution, New York

I encountered John DeDakis at a seminar he held in Nashville. I'd rewritten my novel eighteen times by the time we met and been turned down by about forty agents. John took me under his wing and after extensive revisions over nine months I was able to acquire a west coast agent. Five publishers bid on my book and we finally settled on a two-book contract with Seventh Street Books. My debut novel, A Knife in the Fog, was a finalist for the Edgar Award. I credit John with helping me to get to this level of success.

—Bradley Harper, author, A Knife in the Fog

Zoom schedule

Along with these Zoom calls, you’ll also spend time taking in lectures and chatting on Scribophile over the course of the class. All Zoom calls are recorded, so if you miss one you can review it later.

  • Wednesday March 22, 2023 6:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

  • Wednesday March 29, 2023 6:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

  • Wednesday April 5, 2023 6:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

  • Wednesday April 12, 2023 6:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

  • Wednesday April 19, 2023 6:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

  • Wednesday April 26, 2023 6:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

How this class works

This class is conducted entirely online, on Scribophile and via Zoom videoconference. Participate from anywhere in the world!

You’ll join the instructor and your fellow students in a private group hosted on Scribophile. Take in reading and assignments at your own speed, and discuss them with the instructor and your classmates in the online class discussion forum.

You’ll also participate in Zoom videoconferences with the instructor and your classmates so you can get live lessons and insights, and ask questions in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Videoconferences will be recorded, so you can review them later if you missed them.

Questions about this class?

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have!

About John DeDakis

John DeDakis

Award-winning novelist, writing coach, and manuscript editor John DeDakis is a former editor on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. DeDakis is the author of five mystery-suspense-thriller novels. In his most recent novel, FAKE, protagonist Lark Chadwick is a White House correspondent dealing with “fake news” in the era of #MeToo. DeDakis, a former White House correspondent, regularly leads writing workshops at literary centers and writers’ conferences. He is also the host of the video podcast One-to-One with John DeDakis on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin, DeDakis now lives with his wife Cindy in Baltimore, Maryland.

You can visit his website at

March 22, 2023
6 week master class

Small class size
Seats are limited

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