Online classes offered in 2023

Those Who Forget the Past – Using Backstory to Enhance Your Novel

Online Workshop with Cynthia Owens

October 1-31


What’s the first thing a construction crew does when building a house? It’s not the walls, the windows, or the doors. The first thing the crew does is dig the foundation. That’s what backstory is to a writer, and it’s one of the most important tools for creating your characters. Backstory not only explains what came before the story began, but also predicts what will happen and how your characters will react to it.


In “Those Who Forget the Past: Using Backstory to Enhance Your Novel,” multi-published author, Cynthia Owens, will give you the tools you need to create your character’s deepest secrets from their past, including:

  • prologues
  • flashbacks
  • dialogue
  • and more.

She will dissect the backstory scene and show you how to weave it into your story. She’ll also show you a new way to plot using backstory.

Join Cynthia Owens on the COFW digital class site as she shows you how to enhance your novel with backstory.
About the Instructor

Cynthia Owens is a white woman with short-cropped red hair. She's leaning against the rail between two stone pillars that show a hint of pretty blue water.

A former journalist and lifelong Hibernophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories combine friendship, loyalty, and love…along with Irish settings, heroes and heroines, and sometimes all three.

Inside Out: Crafting Your Character’s Internal Conflict

Workshop with Linnea Sinclair

April 1-30 2023 Online Course

It’s the bottom of the iceberg. The fuel for the fire. It’s the secret engine for the story-line conveyor belt. It’s internal conflict—that illusive and often ignored element in your character’s GMC. Yet, like fuel, it’s a powerful element in crafting your character and your story, and it’s the irresistible element that will keep your readers turning pages.

In this in-depth workshop, RITA® award-winning author, Linnea Sinclair, will show you how to dig deeper to unearth your story’s hidden power by writing to this primal force. (A working knowledge of GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict is helpful for this class.

So join Linnea Sinclair on the COFW digital class site as she teaches us how to create that iceberg’s foundation.
About the Instructor
Winner of RWA’s RITA award, Linnea Sinclair is a name synonymous with high-action, emotionally driven novels. Her books have claimed accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities, earning her work in the Locus Top Ten, starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, and more.

Starlog magazine calls Sinclair “one of the reigning queens of science fiction romance.”

You can find out more about her at her website.

Linnea Sinclair is a blond-haired author of sci-fi
Registration cost for this month-long course is:
  • $30 for COFW Members.
  • $35 for all others

Stay Tuned for future webcourses!

Online classes offered in 2022

Series Bibles Are Serious Business!

Workshop with Leslie Scott

COFW Presents an Online Workshop: Series Bible with Leslie Scott, April 1-30, 2022

April 1-30 2022 Online Course

Every sitcom on television and new scripted drama dropped on Netflix comes with its own Story Bible. A writer’s collective of everything that’s ever happened. Every story arc, character name, or actor change is hidden within.
For an author, why shouldn’t we have the same thing for an on-going series? A dear, sweet author once had a protagonist with a twin brother in the first novel of a series and by the seventh, he was an only child. Multiple books, a best seller list, and thousands of readers went by before someone (a reader) finally spotted that glaring error. If my friend had made a series bible, she’d have never forgotten.
So join Leslie Scott on the COFW digital class site as she simplifies the art of creating a Series Bible so that you can corral all those series details into one place and get back to the business of writing!
About the Instructor
Award nominated author of Two Hearts, One Stone and the Arkadia Fast Series, Leslie Scott has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. The happier the ending, the better. Currently, she lives and writes amidst her own happily ever after with her soul mate, son, and domestic zoo.


You can find out more at her website:

Leslie Scott

Registration is free for COFW Members. Please see the private Google Group or the private Facebook group for the Registration link.

Registration is $15 for everyone else for this month-long course. 

Registration is Closed.

Character Torture 101: Writing Conflict

Linnea Sinclair teaches "Character Torture 101" as its November 2022 Online Workshop

***Update: Education Chair is using Google Groups for this one, and is trying to get it setup. Your invites should come out on 10/31/22***

Workshop with Linnea Sinclair

November 1-30 2022 Online Course

Writing guru Dwight Swain said it’s the author’s job to manipulate the emotions of the reader. There’s no better way for the author to do this than to put his/her/their characters through one roller coaster episode after another, taking the reader along for the ride.
But how much conflict, how much character angst is too much? How can the author keep the action from becoming cartoonish?
Long-time friend of COFW Digital Classes, Linnea Sinclair answers those questions and more in this fun and fast-paced (because torturing students is good, too!) workshop that explores the importance of conflict in today’s commercial fiction novels.
About the Instructor
Winner of RWA’s RITA award, Linnea Sinclair is a name synonymous with high-action, emotionally driven novels. Her books have claimed accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities, earning her work in the Locus Top Ten, starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, and more.
Starlog magazine calls Sinclair “one of the reigning queens of science fiction romance.”

You can find out more about her at her website.

Linnea Sinclair is a blond-haired author of sci-fi
Registration cost for this month-long course (with a slight break around Thanksgiving) is:
  • $20 for COFW Members.
  • $25 for all others

Important: After you pay, you must use the PayPal option to “Return to Merchant” to supply the additional information we need to finalize your registration. 

Registration is Closed. Thank you to our fantastic registrants!





Online classes offered in 2021

Myths, Fairy Tales & Dreams for Stories that Sell

Workshop with Paula Chaffee Scardamalia

August 1-31 2021 Online Course

The basis of modern storytelling whether in print or on the screen, lies deeply rooted in the mythological tradition. And that mythological tradition, whether myth or fairy tale, is shaped and created by visions and dreams, according to mythologist, Joseph Campbell.

Game of Thrones, Clash of the Titans, Thor, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Snow White and the Huntsman, Once Upon a Time, Grimm—all popular books, movies and TV series that have their roots in the realms of myth and fairy tale.

For writers, the realm of myth, fairy tale and dreams is one of unending storytelling possibilities. This workshop defines and describes the elements and characteristics, as well as the differences of myth and fairy tales and how you can use them for stories that capture your reader. And it will show you how to tap into the mythic power of dreams for personal yet universal stories.

Paula Chaffee Scardamalia is book coach, dream and tarot intuitive and the author of In the Land of the Vultures (a novel inspired by a dream), and Tarot for the Fiction Writer. She was dream consultant for PEOPLE Country Magazine. For more than 20 years, Paula’s presented workshops across the country at: national and regional Romance Writers of America conferences; the San Diego University Writers Conference; and the International Women’s Writing Guild. Paula publishes Divine Muse-ings, a weekly e-newsletter (since 2009) on writing, creativity, dreams, and tarot and is the award-winning author of Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom.

Registration is closed.

How to Write Unforgettable and Romantic Weddings for Novels

Workshop with Laurie Sue Brockway

October 4-31 2021 Online Course

Romance readers love weddings. It began with Jane Austin and continues with Hallmark and in every genre in between. How can we, as writers, make weddings unforgettable and romantic? We can make them real and filled with details that make them come alive.

We’ve all been to weddings, and many of us have written weddings in our romance stories and novels, but have you ever wanted to expand your writing of the wedding scene to include more nuances and insights into the ceremony itself? And do you seek a more reality-based looks at wedding stress―and drama―that can make the story more exciting?

As readers seek more diverse character, it is helpful to be able to write about real weddings that reflect the spiritual and cultural values of the couple and their families. In this course we will look at how to design contemporary fictional ceremonies for characters of all backgrounds, cultures, and faiths; and, how to research weddings of all kinds to fit your story.

This course will include:

  • Basic outline of a contemporary wedding ceremony and ideas for prayers, readings, and sharing the couple’s love story as part of the wedding.
  • A run-down of the kinds of ceremonies your couples may have ― religious, non-religious contemporary, non-denominational, alternative, civil, new age, or highly cultural – and the cast of characters that may be involved (and can help you move your story along!).
  • Details, nuances, and rituals for a host of different cultures, such as what happens at a Hindu wedding, a Celtic ceremony, or a same sex ceremony.
  • Writing wedding vows and creating scenes in which you can have your couples speak these words from the heart.
  • Insights into real family issues, dynamics, and conflict situations that can arise to make your fictional wedding more fascinating (there are a lot!).
  • Inspiration for the experience of the couple at the altar ― how they look at each other, what they say with their eyes, their words, and their body language.
  • Different kinds of venues in which to set a wedding ― from beaches and parks, to castles and mansions, home weddings to big hotels, and houses of worship to romantic destinations.
  • Ideas for engagement stories and proposals.

You will have fun planning your fictional wedding as we look at different ways to bring your couples to the altar. Each week will offer tips on different aspects of the wedding planning and ceremony and will also give you assignments for crafting your own wedding readings, vows, and love stories to tell as part of the wedding. We will have some fun research as well!

Laurie Sue Brockway is an experienced, ordained wedding officiant. For more than 20 years she has presided over a multicultural wedding ministry based in New York and is widely recognized as an expert on interfaith, intercultural, and highly personalized nondenominational weddings.

She has been called upon by couples around the world for her assistance in complex spiritual and cultural issues, and to help guide families through the marriage process. She has married hundreds of couples in creative and loving ceremonies, in locales that range from parks to castles and every place in between. She is also called upon to create romantic ceremonies without a spiritual focus.

She has written extensively on love, romance, sex, and weddings. She is author or twenty-five books, including several contemporary romances written under a pen name. She loves to end her books with a wedding or a proposal.

Her nonfiction books include: Your Interfaith WeddingYour Hindu-Interfaith WeddingYour Perfect Wedding VowsWedding GoddessThe Goddess Pages, and Soulmate Feng Shui. Her newest books, for writers, are She Who Scrivens and Seshat Journal.

Visit her at and

Registration is closed.