"Master of the Courtroom Drama" to teach series at Stillwater Public Library

MEDIA RELEASE • For Immediate Release

Twitter status: @wbernhardt teaching novel building #workshop @StillwaterOKlib


William Bernhardt is a New York Times bestselling author

and the "Master of the Courtroom Drama." 

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / Feb. 1, 2013) — New York Times bestselling author and the “Master of the Courtroom Drama,” William Bernhardt, will teach a six part writing series at the Stillwater Public Library.  “Just Fiction: a novel building workshop” will take place one Saturday a month April 6 to Sept. 7.  The series is offered as a non-credit class by OSU’s Arts and Science Outreach, in partnership with the library.

“One of our staff members attended several workshops taught by Bernhardt and was impressed with the breadth of his experience and his intuitive teaching style,” said Walter Shaw, Director of Arts and Science Outreach.  “We were ecstatic when Mr. Bernhardt accepted our proposal to host a writing series in Stillwater.  It is rare for a community the size of Stillwater to get an opportunity like this with an author of Bernhardt’s stature.  He is one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation.”

The classes, which will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will cover numerous aspects of novel writing.  From coming up with an idea to marketing the completed novel, new and experienced authors will learn techniques on the art and craft of writing as well as its business side.

"I know there are many people in the community who dream of writing a book, or perhaps who have even started, but need some guidance, not only on writing itself, but also on publishing,” said Bernhardt.  "I spent years writing and sending things off, desperately trying to get published. I know how frustrating that can be.  I'm hoping these courses can help smooth the road for the next generation of Oklahoma writers."

The fee for each session is $89, and two books are required.  Participants can attend one or all of the classes, but space is limited to 30 students per class.  Classes include:

  • April 6 - Premise: Getting started right, tweaking an idea for maximum success, premises that appeal to agents and editors, writing the perfect first sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter to grab the reader from the outset and contemplating the audience.
  • May 11 - Structure: Organizing the story for maximum impact, understanding inciting incident, plot points, character turning points, rising and falling action, climax, denouement, outlining the book for maximum success and extending premises into a successful story plan. 
  • June 8 - Character: Designing protagonists and antagonists that bring the story to life, understanding character arcs, distinguishing character from characterization, using secondary characters effectively, understanding viewpoint and using psychic distance to increase reader identification with the  characters.
  • July 6 -  Plot: Designing a story that engages a reader throughout, understanding basic plot elements, uniting character and plot, the importance of the ending and creating a climax and resolution that satisfies and delights the reader.
  • Aug. 3 - Style:  Focusing on language, how to use words to maximum effect, writing the lightning (not the lightning bug), using effective verbs, avoiding passive voice, how to make writing publishable and how to comply with contemporary writing standards for modern novels and style guides.
  • Sept. 7 - Marketing:  The query letter, the synopses, finding an agent, pitching, working with an editor, marketing and publicity, using social media, building an author platform and the role of electronic books.

Bernhardt, who has over ten million books in print worldwide, rose to fame with his 18 book legal series featuring attorney Ben Kincaid.  When he is not writing or teaching classes across the country, Bernhardt runs HAWK Publishing Group which he founded in 1999.  HAWK has published books by acclaimed authors such as Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist N. Scott Momaday and PBS newsman Jim Lehrer.  HAWK also helped launch the career of popular young adult author, P.C. Cast.

“My publishing company’s primary focus has been to provide a publishing venue for the unpublished,” said Bernhardt.  “Too many manuscripts are rejected, not because the writers lack talent, but because they lack information, both about contemporary writing style and the publishing industry.  These classes will provide that information to those who need it.”

For more information on “Just Fiction,” please contact Christine Nichols at (405) 744-8459 or christine.nichols@okstate.edu.  Further information and online registration are available at http://justfiction.okstate.edu

“Just Fiction” is sponsored by New Forums Press, Stillwater NewsPress, Stillwater Radio, KOSU and the Friends of the Stillwater Public Library.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.