Writing Fiction That Sells: The P. C. C. S. E. L. F Approach | Nia Hogan | Skillshare

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Writing Fiction That Sells: The P. C. C. S. E. L. F Approach

teacher avatar Nia Hogan, Storyteller

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      How Can the P.C.C.S.E.L.F Approach Work for Me?


    • 3.

      Breaking Down the Acronym P.C.C.S.E.L.F


    • 4.



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About This Class

Do you dream of your book being a best seller or profiting full-time income as an author? The best novels take readers on a journey that feels real, opens the mind, is unique, and that readers feel connected to. Your finished novel should be an authentic, thought-provoking, focused piece of writing that exudes your style. Your book should be unlike anything on the market and something readers can connect to and engage with. If you’re looking for a reliable strategy to help you review and edit your fiction writing piece, this course will teach you the P.C.C.S.E.L.F Approach, created by author and writing teacher Nia Hogan, and how this strategy can work for you.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nia Hogan



I'm a multi-published author, educator, and your facilitator.

I'm a New Jersey native, but Florida has been my home for over 20 years. I earned my MFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University and am also a Master of Education. I have self-published 4 novels and 1 craft book and produce resources for writers.

Writing has always been my passion but I've been in the business for almost 10 years. Between ghostwriting novels, to creating copy for small businesses, I've helped many writers to develop their craft over the years.

When I'm not writing, I'm looking for new content to create or curled up with a good book.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to writing Fiction That Sells the PCCSELF Approach. My name is Nia Hogan and I'm a multi published in the author of both fiction and non-fiction. I originally introduced the PCCSELF Approach at the end of my very first Skillshare course, Novel Writing For Beginners. The PCCSELF Approach is an acronym I created to serve as a friendly reminder that your finished novel should be an authentic, thought-provoking, focused piece of writing. Unlike anything on the market that readers can connect to and engage with, that exudes your own sense of style. This approach helps new writers ensure that their final Fiction piece has the potential to sell for years to come. This course is for beginner writers, as well as authors who are looking to re-release they're published work. This course is not for riders of nonfiction or writers who already have a strong handle on what a book needs in order to sell. This is not a marketing course, but rather a class to provide you with a reliable strategy that I use myself and that you can use for your own writing. In this course, I will explain how this approach can work for you and go over in-depth each letter of the acronym PCCSELF. With this class in the project section, you'll find the PCCSELF Approach Reference Guide to help you review and revise your own writing 2. How Can the P.C.C.S.E.L.F Approach Work for Me?: Now without further ado, let's get into the first lecture. How Can the PCCSELF Approach Work for Me? I created this Approach to give writers as simple acronym to remember what their finished novel should be. This strategy is recommended to be used at three key points in the writing process. During planning, during the editing of your first draft and during the proofreading of your final draft. During the planning process is a great time to ensure that your outline covers all seven parts of the Approach. If you plan for success, you likely won't have to make as many significant changes to your story later. Oftentimes your first draft takes on a mind of its own. Even with a detailed outline. This isn't a bad thing, but sometimes an idea strikes and you run with it. It's important to make sure that your story contains everything needed to sell itself once the first draft is finished before you begin the heavy editing. And finally, reviewing the Approach before sending it off for publishing allows you to ensure that your story is everything it needs to be whenever and however you choose to use the PCCSELF Approach is up to you. However, this best serves. You may be unique to your writing process 3. Breaking Down the Acronym P.C.C.S.E.L.F: If you're ready, let's dive into each letter of the acronym PCC self. P is for provoking. Give readers the room they need to think for themselves. Oftentimes, the storytellers, we want to paint the clearest picture possible for our readers by telling them everything about the characters and what is going on around them. While creating well-developed scenes and characters as part of creating a well-developed plot. We have to remember that our readers are also critical thinkers. They want their mind to be stretched. They want to make predictions and for, and think deeper than what's on the surface. Let's use character motivations as an example. Let's say a character has been very detail-oriented throughout the entire first part of the novel, but then leaves behind something very important to them. The reader's going to wonder why. As the author, you can either explain their choice or let the reader think for themselves. Let's think about it like a film. The camera may zoom in on something in a scene and the characters provide zero explanation for it. You know, there's a reason for it. And then you start making inferences about the purpose of that object. Maybe why the director chose to zoom in on it in the first place. Readers don't want everything served to them. Mysteries and thrillers aren't the only genres where readers want to ask themselves questions. C stands for creative, a unique experience for readers and thinks outside of the box. Effective storytelling turns a retelling into a fresh literary experience. This is why we continue to consume versions of the same classic novels that have been retold for centuries. But even if you're doing a retelling, your story should feel unlike anything else in the market. The experience should be new. Even if you're not writing a retelling, making texts to texts connections are a natural part of analyzing literature. Readers are going to draw a background knowledge and make authentic connections to gain a deeper understanding of what they're reading. A seasoned reader is likely going to think about other books when reading yours for a number of reasons. The thing you don't want to happen is for them to feel like your work is a carbon copy of something that they've read before. The best way to prevent this is to read more in the genre that you're writing. So you have more exposure to what's already out there. Research popular new releases. But more importantly, right from the heart, all writers have a personal connection to the stories they write. They leave themselves on the pages of their work. Another thing to consider as you write is how can you think outside the box? What could happen to the main character that is unexpected? What's a twist I can add to elevate the storyline. The second C is for connecting, relatable, and helps readers feel something. Our favorite books are the ones that we feel the deepest connection to. Whether it's how relatable the characters were for us, or maybe how the plot or theme hit close to home. Regardless, we felt something that stuck with us. I have so many favorite books for many different reasons. But I'll just use three that stand out to me right now. My favorite author is Tiffany D. Jackson. She's a young adult author and my favorite book that she's written is Monday isn't coming. While I didn't see myself in any of the main characters, Jackson took me through an emotional roller coaster. The ending wrecked me in the best possible way. As an educator, I've spent most of my career in underserved communities. This book made me think about students who are victims of abuse and neglect and how important it is to be vigilant and to advocate for our students. I felt most connected to Ms. Valencia because she was an advocate and it was clear she cared about her students. I've read this book three times. And each time it reminds me of how broken the Social Work system is and how the lack of funding truly impacts the lives of the people it serves. Next up on my favorite book list is the to all the boys I ever loved series. I typically don't go for romance, but once I got through the first half of the first book in the series, I fell in love and could not stop reading. In this series. I also didn't feel super connected to any of the characters, but I loved how the author Jenny Han made me feel like I was in the inner circle of the storyworld. I was invested in law, are coming of age and watching her choose with her heart. This was more than a love story. It was a reflection of the fragility of young love and the strength to conquer the messy parts of adolescents. I also loved that the catalysts of the story made for an interesting storyline as her loves received their letters. There on my list is Esperanza rising. I read this book when it first came out, but it didn't have, I didn't have a memory memorable connection to it because I didn't have a lot of background knowledge to understand the strength of the plot. I read it again with my summer school class two years ago. And I was able to appreciate the rich historical context and provided it was the perfect period piece and it truly deserves a film adaptation. Listen, I cried at the end, and I can't think of any other book that is brought me to tears. There were so many unexpected twists and turns. And I appreciated how the authentic reflection of history was painted and how the theme of how history continues to repeat itself was apparent throughout. As you write for your audience, remember that they may not live the same life, your character lives, or be from the same place or time. But you can still create an unforgettable experience with your words that readers can connect to and hold in their hearts forever Next up is stylish, an individual way of writing that is unique to you, much like your fingerprint. Who is your favorite author? What about them? Do you love? It's likely their style of writing. When I'm choosing new stories, the writing style always trumps the storyline. If after the first few pages, the style of storytelling does not grab me, no matter how interesting the summary sounds, I often don't continue to read. If your author has multiple titles like my favorite Tiffany D. Jackson does, then all of their books maybe just a little bit different. But they all have the same unique style because they were penned by the same person. You are writing style is like your fingerprint. It may seem similar to someone else's, but at the end of the day, your voice, style and perspective is unique. Embracing our individuality is key. And while most writers know this, there are still plenty of new writers who don't trust the writer DNA. They want to mimic the craft and style of best-selling author or authors they love. They haven't found their own voice yet. I fell into the same trap my first few years is a new writer. Another issue I noticed a lot when critiquing drafts is that the style is inconsistent throughout as if to writers have written halfs of the book and then without consulting one another, merge the two documents. These are things to be mindful of in the final stages of your writing. Does this story sound like me? Are my words resonating? Am I feeling myself in my words? Don't get lost in trying to be somebody you're not. Your style is beautiful and special and is worthy of the spotlight. Up next is engaging interests and excites readers, is unpredictable and worth investing in. The only way to know what your target reader will be interested in is to one, understand your genre and to, to do current market research on the readers of that genre. Understanding your genre is the easy part. And should if this is your first time writing in the genre, be the first thing you research before beginning to plan your story. Understanding what elements are expected and possible within your genre is important. Readers of romance or expecting a plot centered around a love story. Readers of fantasy or expecting fantastical elements that can't happen in the real-world. If you're writing science fiction, but your storyline is better fit for historical fiction, your target audience will never find your book. While this seems like a simple step, you'd be surprised how many indie authors have mislabeled their book. I stress current market research because the market is ever-changing. This can be done in many ways and is really dependent on your position in the community, your available resources, and what information will be helpful to you as you write. Margaret Research doesn't have to be your own research either. You can use what others have compiled to help with your decision-making. But if you'd like to be involved in collecting data, you can create polls on social media or even host discussion groups with your audience. You can observe book talks and discussions online. Read reviews that have been left on major book retailers, or read up on new discussion posts in places where readers like to hang out, such as websites like GoodReads. It's a good idea to do research on the best sellers in your genre. To see how majority of readers feel about the work. What are some things they enjoyed and didn't like to help understand the temperature of the market as well. It's very rare that a book with 1,000 reviews will all be positive. There are many cynical readers out who don't understand what goes into writing a book or simply leave negative or subpar reviews on everything they read. You're looking at what the majority of the audience thinks. Also remember that your story doesn't have to be an adventure tale to take readers on an exciting ride and engaging story as well paced with strong plot points, dialogue and character development. And engaging storyline keeps readers invested in the protagonist's journey from start to finish. Writing a book with unexpected twist won't apply to every book and every genre. But writing a story that's unpredictable is important to keep readers on their toes. Readers don't want to finish a book that they feel they already know the ending too. It's important to give your readers a sense of mystery and room to consider multiple crossroads. L stands for Logical, believable, no matter how fabricated the storyline is. When I use the word believable, I do not mean realistic necessarily. Harry Potter, for example, is far from realistic. But the storylines are all very believable. Meaning in the world that was created, what happened to these characters? The choices they made, the conflict and the resolution was believable. When you create a storyworld, it's a good idea to know beforehand what can and cannot happen in this world. Are characters able to fly? Can they read minds? Does technology rules society? It's important to know how characters can and cannot interact in their world. This helps create a realistic expectation for your reader. Think about when someone with an active imagination tells you a story about their day. If they start talking about things that couldn't possibly happen in the real-world, you are unlikely to believe what they're telling you and likely disinterested in the story itself. Readers feel the same way. So a fantasy elements start appearing and realistic fiction, your readers will naturally lose trust in your storytelling abilities. And finally, F is for focused, resolves, conflict, ties up loose ends and stays on track from start to finish. It's easy to lose track of your story without a defined plan. But many writers can successfully accomplish this. Focused story, however, is going to resolve any conflicts that has been presented in the story. It is going to tie up any loose ends that are important to understanding the full spectrum of the story. It is also going to ensure that all storylines are completely and fully developed. The easiest way to do this is to write down how each storyline starts and ends. Even a book with a C-Cl has to answer some burning questions, if not most, ensuring that your story comes full circle helps the readers feel whole by the end 4. Conclusion: Now that we've reviewed the Acronym, my hope is that by utilizing the PCCSELF Approach, that you not only feel confident that you have a book that will sell, but you understand if your book has everything it needs to sell itself. By sell itself, I don't mean publish and let it be. What I mean is that the story is likely not the issue when it comes to sales. To many authors aren't selling books because the story itself isn't something they're intended audience wants to read or it's missing something essential. Writing Fiction That Sells is the hardest part. But you've got the PCCSELF Approach. Your book will have everything it needs. In this class, we discussed how the PCs, the PCCSELF Approach can work for you, what each letter of the acronym means, and how you can approach this process. This concludes writing Fiction That Sells the PCCSELF Approach. Again, my name is Nia Hogan and as always, it's been a pleasure taking you through the process that I use and encouraged new writers to take into account with their fiction writing pieces. If you found the content of this course helpful, please leave a positive review for future students to understand its value. If you have any private questions or comments, you're always welcome to e-mail me at Novel Writing For beginners@gmail.com. I wish you all the best on your writing journey. Happy writing