Bridge to Story/Learn: Your Online Master Writing Course

by E.J. Runyon

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    1. Jim Placzkiewicz on May 19, 2014

      I'm in. EJ is a great teacher!!

    2. Missing avatar

      Camille Ludlow on November 23, 2013

      I agree with Dawn that this content would be valuable to novices as well as experienced writers. Also in your bio you might say something about your published work, as well as your experience teaching writing.
      Also say something about how it would actually work for students. Is it interactive? What will it cost? These details need to be known upfront I think.
      Typo in title, Bridge to Story/Lean. (sorry, EJ can't help myself!)
      What are the 'rewards'? $ to be applied toward a class? Need to spell that out.

    3. Dawn Chapman on October 12, 2013

      I think as the lady to my right has already said. I think limiting yourself to novice writers is a bust. Any writer would benefit from your coaching, as a script writer, I've been promoting you to some of my script friends who aren't quite novice level, but need more help like I did with showing a story through prose rather than script. I think this is a fab idea and I'll back you any day. :)

    4. Missing avatar

      Laura B. Lilly on June 22, 2013

      Oops! Almost forgot, put your bio after "we are living in a time where people are eager to write" and include part of your personal journey (brief!) such as:
      what you wrote on your blog:"...I offer 52 free writing lesson over at my Bridge to Story, my website, and here on this blog.

      But what you may not know is that I left my career as a Sr. Software Engineer in 2006 in order to go back to school for a BA and MFA in Creative Writing. My goal of being a writing coach and author's first steps."

      Adding something like, "and here I am after x years of couching etc moving forward with xxx" You get the picture, now paint it with words!
      'Nuff said.

    5. Missing avatar

      Laura B. Lilly on June 22, 2013

      Hi e.j.-I just deleted my first attempt at this-yikes! So here I go again...First to address the typos-change the word 'lean' to 'learn' in your project lead-in under the photo. And then, clarify the fragment 'we plan takes advantage' in the second line of the paragraph that starts with 'that's where the funding comes in.'
      Might want to consider highlighting that sentence "That's where the funding comes in." for those who want to skip to the reason for the funding request.
      I love the tag line, "where story craft is more than just a title in a self-help book." You should consider using that as part of your 'brand.'
      So, where's your video? In this day and age, a short video is a must in these funding campaigns. They help the potential funder decide whether or not to continue in reading the more detailed presentation. Also, a face-to-face engagement helps to show your approach and commitment to the project. A good thing to present after a brief intro (always with your tag line) and bio would be the 'google searcher' as story (maybe record a student googling and getting frustrated...)with a shortened version of the who-how-what etc of the project. Just be yourself! People want a taste of who you are.
      The rewards are very generous to **writers**; but what about the non-writer potential funders? Potential investors often are not, as in this case, writers, but merely wanting to invest in something that interests them for whatever reason. How can you incorporate a reward relevant to a non-writer? Perhaps a mention on a dedication page of a forthcoming book, a mention on a website, you appearing as a guest- lecture/workshop/reading-free of charge at one of their social gatherings, business festivals, bookclubs, retirement home programs, etc???? Or, donating a portion of your books/on-line lessons to their favorite library, college?????
      Now for my own personal pet peeve: your use of the word 'novice.' While I am no professional writer, I am also not a 'novice.' I am among those googlers who often reference on-line resources for quick refresher articles, inspiration etc. Why limit your scope to novices? Yes, you desire to make all feel comfortable in learning craft, but writers of all levels are in a constant state of learning craft!
      I commend you for all you've done to prepare for this step in your career...and for putting it out there for all to see...I hope some of what I mentioned sparks juices to make this presentation even tighter and appealing to potential investors.
      Buon' Fortuna!

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By E.J. Runyon
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About this project

About this project

Currently, Bridge to Story is a creativity coaching website that offers 52 free writing lessons for novice writers of fiction and memoir. Many of my students are now asking for in-depth classes, rather than static lessons. They’d like those classes online, the way university instructors teach. Bridge to Story wants to be there to teach these novices by building a new online presence, bridgetostory.com/learn, where story craft is more than just a title in a self-help book.

We are living in a time where people are eager to write

If you search Amazon for the keywords ‘how to write fiction’ you’ll get over 2,400 hits returned. Add the word plot to that search and we jump to 2,800+ titles. Swap out plot for character and we add another 1,400 hits. Try dialog, novel, short story, or memoir and 8,600+ titles are returned. Get into searching on niche genre keywords like, romance, young adult, mystery, historical, horror or erotic, and the hits jump to over 10,600 titles. Novices are searching for help.

Bridge to Story wants to be there to teach these novices by designing a new online presence, bridgetostory.com/learn, where story craft is explored and refined. My project will take the original 52 free lessons, along with my ‘Tell Me (How to Write) A Story’ as its textbook, and create 18 online courses for a Master class in creative writing.

The 4 writing categories offered are:

Beginner’s Craft (6 six-week lessons)

  • Craft Basics
  • Character
  • Dialogue
  • Narration
  • Setting
  • Deeper into Craft

The Short Story (5 six-week lessons)

  • Form & Structure
  • Tension & Plot
  • Backstory & Flashback
  • Language & Genre
  • Voice & Choice

The Novel (4 six-week lessons)This concentration offers 4 courses over the months of Oct, Nov, Jan (*) & Apr (**).

  • The Craft of Novels (January) * Can be taken
    • during the year pre-Planning course
    • in the new year; post-Writing course
    • twice as an extra re-enrollment
  • Planning the Novel (October)
  • Writing the Novel (November)
  • Editing the Novel (April) ** Can be taken
    • in the new year; post-Writing course
    • twice as an extra re-enrollment

Memoir (3 six-week lessons)

  • Poetic Memoir
  • Two Voices - Telling Tales
  • Selected Scenes

BIO: I believe in the visions of others. I want to put my efforts where my heart is. Ask me what I teach and I will tell you: Students. My bridgetostory.com website has been up and running since 2010. And my next release, published by Inspired Quill, is the non-fiction title, ‘Tell Me (How to Write) a Story’ due out October 2013. With your support I’ll gather like-minded people and get to work to create these eighteen courses, under these four categories, for novices writing in all genres.

The How: Using the open source learning management system Moodle, (free) to house these courses, will let me offer 90 language-setting options that allow students from across the globe to see & work the course navigation and tools in the language of their choice. For English as second language users the world of bridgetostory.com/learn becomes that much more accessible with a simple click of Language settings.

I'll make certain we design, deploy and maintain the highest caliber of web and mobile access for novice writers. We're aimed at building an educational system supported by a skilled Moodle hosting service (Remote-Learner). My bridgetostory.com/learn will utilize state-of-the-art Web 2.0 tools, such as SoftChalk lesson builder. Adobe Connect for webinars, and Acrobat Pro X for content management of student’s files & course resources.

That’s where the funding comes in. These application licenses do cost, but where possible, we plan takes advantage of no-cost open source options beyond just Moodle, such as: Skype for editing sessions in real time. Diigo – a social Bookmarking tool. Screencast-o-Matic, and VoiceThread for creating our multi-media how-to presentations and lesson content.

These cloud tools only require signing up for Pro accounts to use their options to the fullest. Bridge to Story began as an effort of one - myself. I have already designed the ‘/learn’ site’s look and feel, and created the bulk of the curriculum.

But with your backing this vision can move onto incorporating the who and the how-to to bring this project to fruition. We intend on tapping into the interning skills of willing university students who are majoring in web & graphic-design, curriculum & instruction, and IT management; allowing them to intern and gain skills in the real-life areas where they will be employed upon graduation.

Your help will make this viable plan a living entity. Some items your pledges will help fund:

• Remote-Learner: Moodle site hosting, plus Moodle 2 Bootcamp & Admin training

• SoftChalk 7: site license

• Adobe® Acrobat® Connect™ Pro: software licenses

• Web 2.0 Cloud services: Pro account fees (Skype, Diigo, Screencast-o-Matic & VoiceThread, and possible other tools)

• A bulk of this funding will go towards Internship stipends for Master’s students.

Risks and challenges

With any product design, in this case an online educational product, planning and education chops are a must.

My background in Software Engineering, Project Management and QA, and Student mentoring, plus Online Teaching and Learning bring a lot to this project.

Pre-design of the educational content and my thorough study of Learning Management System options and Lesson building tools confronts possible glitches before the work is even undertaken.

A project contingency plan will be in place prior to hiring on any Interns, so that their learning experience is as risk-free and satisfying as I can make it.

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    Pledge $20 or more About

    Receive a e-book copy of Claiming One; my collection of 17 short stories gifted to you via Amazon Kindle Store, your Kindle email required. Plus, 8 pages of your first draft manuscript edited.

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    Receive an off-line edit of your manuscript (up to 20 pages, followed by a 1.5 hour edit session online via Skype. Your Skype address required.

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    Pledge $75 or more About

    $20 reward + a print copy of ‘Tell Me (How to Write) A Story’ (October 2013 release from Inspired Quill Publishing)

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    $50 reward + additional 2 hour edit session online via Skype for any second draft manuscript of your choice (35 pages max)

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    Pledge $150 or more About

    $75 reward + additional content edits to any short story up to 25 pages, or novel excerpt up to 6,000 words long. The print edition of ‘Tell Me (How to Write) A Story’, will be personally signed by the author.

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    Pledge $200 or more About

    5 hours Bridge to Story editing time on any single manuscript, you have in draft form now. And, 3 print editions of ‘Tell Me (How to Write) A Story’, personally signed by the author. Keep one, give one as a gift, and donate the last to a novice writer you care deeply about.

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    Pledge $500 or more About

    $100 reward + an additional 15 hours of Bridge to Story editing time on a second single manuscript you now have in draft form. We will work side-by-side online via Skype in real-time, editing sessions to get your manuscript into shape.

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