Perfecting Your Key Scenes

with John DeDakis

Saturday March 23, 2024 1:00pm US Central time • 2 hour workshop, with instructor feedback on your writing

One-time Zoom webinar

Perfect for
Writers of all skill levels

Live attendance is not required: enrollees can watch the recording at any time after the workshop!

Key scenes are the essential building blocks in any work of fiction. They’re the scenes in which important action happens, plot twists are revealed, and characters are transformed. Weak or plodding key scenes drag down the narrative — so how do you write snappy, memorable, effective ones?

In this 2-hour online workshop, author and editor John DeDakis will show you tips and strategies for making the scene you see in your head come alive on the page so that your reader is compelled to turn the page, rather than turn out the light. Writing exercises will give you a hands-on feel for how to add texture, dynamism, and drama to a story, and you’ll also receive practical, hands-on guidance about the rewriting process. Once you’ve used the techniques you’ve learned to edit your story, submit the first 1,000 words of one your key scenes to John for detailed written feedback! If you don’t have a scene yet, that’s OK — you can submit an exercises for written feedback from John to make sure you’ve mastered the workshop material.

Due to the detailed written feedback you’ll receive from John, class size is strictly limited. Once it sells out, no more seats will be made available!

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

Zoom schedule

Everyone enrolled in this webinar will receive a copy of the recording afterwards, so you can review it later in case you missed it.

  • Saturday March 23, 2024 1:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

How this workshop works

This workshop is a live Zoom webinar. Sign in from anywhere in the world and participate live as the instructor conducts the workshop, with time for Q&A at the end.

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

Questions about this class?

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

  • Contact us and a real person will get back to you ASAP.

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

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Saturday March 23, 2024 1:00pm US Central time
2 hour workshop, with instructor feedback on your writing

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