Where did The Extra Draft Writing Course come from? Here is a brief history of its conception through today (Plus a BONUS SURPRISE announcement!!). Are you ready to get personal?
It All Started About 10 Years Ago…
It all started when I was just a boy, on a starless Tuesday night in August… okay, just kidding. As a writer, I have always wanted to help others become writers as well. Once I started getting paid to write, I learned more and more about the craft outside of literature.
What I learned was that every single human in the existence of the History of Ever has a story to tell. What I also learned is that, like any art form, not everyone knows how to tell their story. This made me sad. Not like a tear-stained-pillow-night kind of sad, but a little heart-broken, depressed kind of sad.
Think about it for a moment: How many people since the dawn of time have had a story idea and no way to express it? Using nothing but a rock to draw on a cave wall, the inability to read or write, everything we take for granted today was a struggle for a lot of people (and still is!)… but worse, they all had a story to tell and couldn’t.
Before I got paid to write, I was on Wattpad, (as I am sure you have heard of it) and I started talking to people on the forums there. One major question I always heard over and over was “I have a story, but I don’t know how to write it, how do I write a novel?”
I also read other questions, such as: “I know what I want to say, but I don’t know how to get it out of my head.” or “I write my story and I read it back and it isn’t exactly what I wanted, I don’t know how to fix that!”
So, Then, I Decided To Help
I wanted to answer these questions and I kept coming back to the same response (in my head) of “Who the fuck are you to tell anyone how to write a book/script/screenplay/poem/etc.?” Because of that answer, I remained silent for a little while. I spent time with my own stories and knew I wanted to write them out and hopefully be published.
Like so many of those on Wattpad (and everywhere else) I knew there had to be more to it than just “sit down and put words on paper.” There has to be some format, some style, some… method.
I have tried some of those other more popular styles like the Snowflake method, the Suicide Method, the 30-Day Method, Write From the Middle and other shit like that. They were confusing, shitty and made me frustrated. One day I decided just to sit down and write my first novel my way.
I Wrote My Novel, My Way
I wrote, I finished, and the story was amazing and as it was a first novel, it is pretty shit. But I am proud of it and I did it. I also did it with my own method, not knowing at the time how versatile and customized it is. I inadvertently created my very own method of writing I have dubbed the “5-Draft Method,” (I’ve since changed it) and it works surprisingly well.
So well, in fact, in the last 8 years, it has been copied by some fairly famous authors who “stole it” (more on this in another post) and used it to tout their blogs. I guess…as long as it helps someone…
Anywayyyy, I went back to Wattpad where I decided: “You know what? Maybe my method of writing will work for others.” I did a very brief and around the edges write up and posted it. I didn’t make a big deal about it. I didn’t brag on the forums about it. I didn’t even go around and ask people to read it. I just posted it and went about my business.
My writing course, “How To Write a Novel: The 5-Draft Method” went to number 1 in the first week. I stayed in the top 100 for over a year. Those little pages continue to get likes and shares and votes and comments to this very day.
That’s Where It Sat, For About 3 Years
During that time I used my self-created writing method to pump out novel after novel. I wrote a screenplay and countless poems and short stories. I honed my 5-Draft Method and truly began to understand it’s importance and versatility.
Fast forward to this past July (As I am trying to keep this a brief history)… I was engaged to be married to an English Bird. To say she was the only one that ever supported my writing would be a lie. To say she was (and still is) the only one to TRULY support and encourage my writing is not a lie. I was living in a hotel in Bumfuck, Oklahoma.
I was trying to save money for the Visa and plane ticket back to London so we could be married. Seriously, it is a tough and grueling process I don’t wish on anyone, ever. I had stumbled upon a copywriting course, took it and fell in love. I thought: hell I could do this!
I told my fiancée that I thought it was something I could do. Finally being paid to write? A dream I’ve had since I could hold a crayon.
She Talked Me Into It
So I did it. A month later I had my first gig: I was making money as a writer. Incredible! Then, I thought.. this is nice (and it is, I LOVE what I do!) but, I wanted to do more literary writing and fewer blog posts and robot vacuum articles. So again I turn to my fiancée and we talked. I said, “You know.. one of the things about this copywriting thing is that you should sell something, but I don’t have anything to sell.”
So she says, what about that “how to write thing” you wrote, can you sell that?
I thought…what a great idea! I could make a little PDF, expand on it some, sell it for about $5 and see what happens. I would get experience doing marketing copywriting, trying to see if I could make a sales funnel and all that, and she verbally slapped me! She was mad I only wanted to charge 5 bucks.
Well, after a few days of thinking about it, I turned back to my copywriting lessons and classes and groups and I thought…wait a damn minute!!
Not a PDF…that thing would be 400 pages long, it needs detail, meat, girth! That small write up on Wattpad isn’t even enough. It needs to be explained and FUN! I NEED TO MAKE A VIDEO COURSE!!
During this thinking time, and research time, I went back over the Wattpad write-ups I had done. I had added a few more (Raw Ideas, Outlines, Visual Web, etc.). I knew that to be an all-inclusive PDF it would take years to write, perfect, and would take away from everything that I love to do with my life besides writing: namely, sleep and eat.
I began to research (and participate) in online video courses. I did, however, finish the PDF and it was under 300 pages. I also rewrote a more simplified version for the absolute beginner. But, I digress.
I Took a LOT of Video Courses
Now, I have taken a few video writing courses (James Patterson’s MasterClass, for example) and you know what? They fucking suck balls. It’s some dude (famous or not) talking at a camera. There is no passion. There is no joy. I, personally, don’t like being talked at. I always felt, that even though it was a video, I was there, they were there, WE should be there together.
So I pondered it a few more days. Then I decided not to do it. (bad sound effect time: Wha wha wahhhhhaaaaaa).
There is No Course, Folks; I Suck At Life
I was on Facebook in one of the groups for one of the (many) copywriting courses I had taken when I read a quote that changed everything. The guy said copywriters are salesmen. They aren’t marketers. Someone else responded with, “but what I am selling (meaning his service) isn’t as good as someone else, I am still new to this, how can I charge for what I barely know?”
This really struck me on a personal level. Do I really know what I know, or am I just fooling myself? On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being someone who has never put pen to paper, and 10 being the most famous author you can think of), I put myself at about a 4, maybe a 5 on a good day. I mean… I have written 7 novels, a screenplay and 4 video scripts. I know what I am doing.
And the response… oh my God! He said “It doesn’t matter if some other guy is a 10 and you are only a 3. Even if you are a 3, there are thousands of 1s and 2s out there that will pay to be where you are at!”
And that just hit me in some weird way that made me… well… proud. He was right. I may not have 30 novels on the NYT bestseller list, but there ARE aspiring authors out there that WISH they knew how to do what I do so naturally.
So, Do The Course Then?
BINGO. The course is back on! (YAY! Much rejoicing) So I spent a week kind of planning it out in my head and in my notebook. I was trying to think about how a basic nobody could make this work. The market is there, and I know I have the skill so how do I do this and make people want to join?
I made the website and the social accounts; I put a few feelers out there; and, I got some promising responses. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to stay excited. My biggest hurdle was trying to figure out what my angle would be.
My method is not unorthodox, but it is a little different. So I went back to all my courses I had gone through and it hit me like a brick. In the face. Thrown by Dwayne Johnson. From 1 foot away.
This Writing Course Shit Is Boring As Fuck!
Seriously. These writing courses were all the same: mass film-school-style production with crafty camera angles and scene cuts and magic lighting and settings, but none of that helps. It’s still some old dude sitting in a chair talking at a camera, and to be quite honest… not really telling you anything you don’t already know.
“The first chapter has to grab the readers attention!” Well, no shit. But you know what they don’t tell you? HOW to grab that attention.
They talk AT you, not TO you, and there is no real emotion. It’s someone reading a cue card that is just too far away. I know these authors aren’t actors, but damn, liven it up a bit. Sure, I learned a couple of things, but in all honesty, I‘d take my money back and forget everything I learned and still have the better bargain.
So I knew what I had to do… make it FUN, make it INTERACTIVE, talk TO the students and not AT them. And for God’s sake I had to explain the HOW and WHY not just the what.
Then… Tragedy Struck
My fiancée of almost 2 years dumped me over a text message. My life changed, again, forever. I now had to work on myself and everything else went back burner. I turned hard back to copywriting and made $1100 bucks in 4 days. Finally, I left Cow-Town, USA, moved to the beach and started completely over.
The course stuck with me and I have been trying to get on it.
I have my layout and I am working on my video scripts so I can continue recording. I have the course software installed waiting to be populated.
Plus, I have built a recording studio complete with stage lighting and a green screen and everything. It is pretty cool, to be fair.
As progress has been slow (starting over sucks), there will be some time before I complete the video courses. But that isn’t going to stop me. We have the PDFs, we have the course materials, the handouts, the freebies, and all the other stuff that can help you starting right now.
As Everything In My Life Goes…
I have the best ideas during my 2 a.m. showers (don’t ask). And I thought… okay, but this course still isn’t DIFFERENT enough for me. Then… VIOLA!
I need more contributors. I need that “clout” I need what no other course has: a writer explaining how to write (that’s me!) in a fun and engaging way. Also, I need industry insiders!
So I will sell TWO packages. The standard package as outlined above. For those on a budget or just want to know how to adapt the 5-Draft Method so they can finally write that novel.
Then, I will have the premium package, the standard package PLUS extra videos that are from industry professionals!
I want 2 or 3 or 4 published authors from different genres. I want them to talk about their experiences, their troubles, their pain and their success, and then I want them to do a FAQs about being an author.
Let the students (that’s you!) hear it from the mouths of those that were once where they are: eager, but intimidated. They have questions, we all do, format, length, do I need a query letter, etc… Have their questions answered by those that have done it!
I Still Need More!
I want a couple of professional editors. Again, explain what they do, the problems they face, the joys they encounter, how they do their job and why, and then a FAQs again about editing, how to find an editor, how much does it cost, is it crucial? Don’t publishers have editors, why do I need my own? etc., etc.
Then, I would love to have an agent or two. Same format: what they do how they do it, then a FAQs, how to get an agent, when to get one, should I get one… blah, blah, blah.
And then! The bee’s knees… a publishing house representative talking about the most sought-after prize ever: being published. All about the details that aspiring writers may not understand, and a FAQs portion to answer the common questions they get every day, dealing without an agent, dealing with an agent, contracts, advancements, royalties, etc., etc.
Current As Of Today
That is where we are, kids! I am working on the lesson videos already; some are sent off to the video editor so they are beautiful and engaging for you. I have the course ready to go, being populated with handouts, lesson videos, homework assignments. I have the forum, the Facebook group, the profiles and sign-ups. Soon, we will be opening!
Everything is coming along and I will not be stopped. No break-ups, no nay-sayers, no negativity. I am bringing the 5-Draft Method to YOU.
I also made you a promise at the beginning of this article:
Bonus Content Surprise
The Extra Draft Writing Course is proud to announce that I have acquired not one, but TWO published authors and a professional literary editor for the course!
What’s more, I am also in negotiations with two different publishing houses and a few agents as well.
There will be more on this as it develops.
Get ready kids. This shit is going to happen. It is going to be in-your-face, it is going to be fun, it is going to be amazing!
Now, let me get back to work. I have little to do and lot’s of time. Wait. Scratch that, reverse it. Onward we go!