Announcing 3 New Releases on Sale Now!
Announcing 3 New Releases on Sale Now!
  • Understanding the Quantum World

    Professor Erica W. Carlson, PhD

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD
    Quantum theory baffles even physicists, but it also gives them unprecedented insight into nature—and it can do the same for you, once you understand the fundamentals. Open your mind and broaden your scientific horizons with this 24-lecture course on the quantum world.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Quantum theory baffles even physicists, but it also gives them unprecedented insight into nature—and it can do the same for you, once you understand the fundamentals. Open your mind and broaden your scientific horizons with this 24-lecture course on the quantum world.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding the Quantum World
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Particle-Wave Duality
      Begin your journey into the quantum world by focusing on one of its most baffling features: the behavior of quantum entities as both particles and waves. Following her approach of presenting analogies over equations, Professor Carlson gives a handy way of visualizing this paradox. Then she takes you further into quantum weirdness by using a slinky to show how waves can be quantized. x
    • 2
      Particles, Waves, and Interference Patterns
      Investigate one of the most famous demonstrations in physics: the double-slit experiment. See how electrons behave as both particles and waves when passing through two parallel slits in a plate and then striking a screen. Bizarrely, the wave properties disappear when the electrons are monitored as they pass through each slit, showing our inability to have complete information of a quantum state. x
    • 3
      Observers Disturb What They Measure
      Consider what life would be like if quantum effects held at our everyday scale. For instance, there would be no trouble sitting in three chairs at once! Learn what happens when a particle in such a mixed state is forced by measurement to assume a definite position—a situation known as wave function collapse. This leads to the important quantum principle that observers disturb what they measure. x
    • 4
      Bell’s Theorem and Schrödinger’s Cat
      Ponder two celebrated and thought-provoking responses to the apparent incompatibility of quantum mechanics and classical physics. Bell’s theorem shows that attempts to reconcile the two systems are futile in a certain class of theories. Next, Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment implying that a cat could be both dead and alive if the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics holds. x
    • 5
      Quantum Paradoxes and Interpretations
      Review the major theories proposed by physicists trying to make sense of the paradoxes of the quantum world. Look at the Copenhagen interpretation, Einstein’s realist view, the many worlds interpretation, quantum Bayesianism, non-local hidden variables, and other creative attempts to explain what is going on in a realm that seems to be governed by probability alone. x
    • 6
      The Position-Momentum Uncertainty Relation
      Heisenberg's uncertainty principle sets a fundamental limit on how much we can know about an object's position and momentum at the same time. Professor Carlson introduces this simple equation, showing how it explains why atoms have structure and come in the diverse forms of the periodic table of elements. Surprisingly, the stability of our everyday world rests on uncertainty at the quantum level. x
    • 7
      Wave Quantization
      Electrons don't just orbit the nucleus—they simultaneously exist as standing waves. Go deeper into what standing wave modes look like in one, two, and three dimensions, discovering that these shapes explain the quantization of energy states in an atom. As usual, Professor Carlson introduces useful analogies, including the standing waves produced in a vibrating drum head. x
    • 8
      Quantum Wave Shapes and the Periodic Table
      Focus on standing waves of electrons around nuclei, seeing how the periodic table of elements results from what electrons do naturally: fall into the lowest energy state given the total electric charge, existing electron population, and other features of an atom. Learn the Pauli exclusion principle and a handy mnemonic for remembering the terminology for atomic orbitals, such as 1s, 2p, 3d, etc. x
    • 9
      Interference of Waves and Sloshing States
      Watch what happens when electrons are put into wave forms that differ from standing waves. Your goal is to understand why some of these superposition states are unstable. Professor Carlson notes that the sloshing of an electron back and forth in an unstable state causes it to act like an antenna, radiating away energy until it falls to a lower energy level. x
    • 10
      Wave Shapes in Diamond and Graphene
      What accounts for the dramatic difference between diamond and graphene (a sheet of graphite one atom thick), both of which are composed of pure carbon? Study the role of electrons in molecular bonds, applying your knowledge of electron standing waves. In carbon, such waves make possible several types of bonds, which in diamond and graphene result in remarkably different physical properties. x
    • 11
      Harmonic Oscillators
      A clock pendulum is an example of a classical harmonic oscillator. Extend this concept to the atomic realm to see how quantum waves behave like harmonic oscillators. Then learn how quantum physics was born at the turn of the 20th century in Max Planck’s solution to a paradox in the classical picture of oscillating atoms. His conclusion was that the energies of oscillation had to be quantized. x
    • 12
      The Energy-Time Uncertainty Relation
      Return to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle from Lecture 6 to see how quantum uncertainty also extends to energy and time. This has a startling implication for energy conservation, suggesting that short-lived “virtual” particles can pop into existence out of nothing—as long as they don’t stay around for long. Consider evidence for this phenomenon in the Lamb shift and Casimir effect. x
    • 13
      Quantum Angular Momentum and Electron Spin
      Continue your investigation of the counterintuitive quantum world by contrasting angular momentum for planets and other classical objects with analogous phenomena in quantum particles. Cover the celebrated Stern–Gerlach experiment, which in the 1920s showed that spin is quantized for atoms and can only take on a very limited number of discrete values. x
    • 14
      Quantum Orbital Angular Momentum
      Having covered electron spin in the previous lecture, now turn to orbital angular momentum. Again, a phenomenon familiar in classical physics relating to planets has an analogue in the quantum domain—although with profound differences. This leads to a discussion of permanent magnets, which Professor Carlson calls “a piece of quantum physics that you can hold in your hand.” x
    • 15
      Quantum Properties of Light
      Among Einstein’s insights was that light comes in discrete packets of energy called photons. Explore the photoelectric effect, which prompted Einstein’s discovery. See a do-it-yourself project that demonstrates the photoelectric effect. Close by surveying applications of the quantum theory of light to phenomena such as lasers, fluorescent dyes, photosynthesis, and vitamin D production in skin. x
    • 16
      Atomic Transitions and Photons
      Dive deeper into the interactions of light with matter. Starting with a hydrogen atom, examine the changes in energy and angular momentum when an electron transitions from one orbital to another. See how the diverse possibilities create a “fingerprint” specific to every type of atom, and how this is the basis for spectroscopy, which can determine the composition of stars by analyzing their light. x
    • 17
      Atomic Clocks and GPS
      Peer into the structure of a cesium atom to see what makes it ideal for measuring the length of a second and serving as the basis for atomic clocks. Then head into space to learn how GPS satellites use atomic clocks to triangulate positions on the ground. Finally, delve into Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity to understand the corrections that GPS must make to stay accurate. x
    • 18
      Quantum Mechanics and Color Vision
      Probe the quantum events that underlie color vision, discovering the role of the retinal molecule in detecting different frequencies of photons as they strike cone cells in the eye’s retina. Also investigate the source of color blindness, most common in men, as well as its inverse, tetrachromacy, which is the ability to see an extra channel of color information, possessed by some women. x
    • 19
      A Quantum Explanation of Color
      Now turn to the sources of color in the world around us, from the yellow glow of sodium street lights to the brilliant red of a ruby pendant. Grasp the secret of the aurora, the difference between fluorescence and phosphorescence, and the reason neon dyes look brighter than their surroundings. It turns out that our entire experience of color is governed by the quantum world. x
    • 20
      Quantum Tunneling
      Anyone who makes use of a memory stick, a solid-state hard drive, or a smartphone relies on one of the most baffling aspects of the quantum world: quantum tunneling. Professor Carlson uses a roller coaster analogy, combined with your newly acquired insight into wave mechanics, to make this feat of quantum sorcery—the equivalent of walking through walls—perfectly logical. x
    • 21
      Fermions and Bosons
      Investigate why two pieces of matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time, reaching the conclusion that this is only true for fermions, which are particles with half-integer spin. The other class of particles, bosons, with integer spin, can be in the same place at the same time. Learn how this feature of bosons has been exploited in lasers and in superfluids such as liquid helium. x
    • 22
      Spin Singlets and the EPR Paradox
      Study the most celebrated challenge to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics: the paradox proposed by Albert Einstein and his collaborators Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen—later updated by David Bohm. Is quantum mechanics an incomplete theory due to hidden variables that guide the outcome of quantum interactions? Examine this idea and the experiments designed to test it. x
    • 23
      Quantum Mechanics and Metals
      Analyze how metals conduct electricity, discovering that, in a sense, electrons “surf” from one metal atom to the next on a quantum mechanical wave. Probe the causes of electrical resistance and why metals can never be perfect conductors. Finally, use the Pauli exclusion principle to understand the optimum distribution of electrons in the different quantum states of metal atoms. x
    • 24
      Superconductivity
      Close with one of Professor Carlson’s favorite topics: superconductivity. As noted in Lecture 23, when electrons flow through a metal, they lose energy to resistance. But this is not true of superconductors, whose amazing properties trace to the difference between bosons and fermions. Learn how quantum stability allows superconductors to conduct electricity with zero resistance, then step back and summarize the high points of your quantum tour. x
  • The Great Tours: Washington D.C.

    Professor Richard Kurin, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD
    Washington DC is a world-class city, offering a multitude of unforgettable sights. In this travelogue, you’ll discover the many layers of history and human endeavor that created DC’s urban environment, such as departments of the U.S. government, monuments and memorials, world-class museums, lesser-known historic gems, neighborhoods and historic homes, and contemporary DC’s range of culinary and recreational activities.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Washington DC is a world-class city, offering a multitude of unforgettable sights. In this travelogue, you’ll discover the many layers of history and human endeavor that created DC’s urban environment, such as departments of the U.S. government, monuments and memorials, world-class museums, lesser-known historic gems, neighborhoods and historic homes, and contemporary DC’s range of culinary and recreational activities.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Great Tours: Washington D.C.
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      How Washington DC Came to Be
      To begin your journey to this world-class city, uncover the origins of the District of Columbia and how the location for our national government was chosen. Learn about the original design and vision for the city by artist/engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant. Then trace the creation and colorful history of the National Mall, and the building of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. x
    • 2
      The White House and the Presidency
      Track the history and the dramatic fortunes of the White House, from its building, expansion, burning, reconstruction, and further expansions down to the present. Then visit the White House, beginning with the Oval Office and Cabinet Room and following the route of a White House tour. Also visit the parks adjoining the White House, and the Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials on the National Mall. x
    • 3
      The Capitol Building and the Legislature
      At the seat of the U.S. legislature, learn how the Capitol building was designed, constructed, and expanded in the early years of the nation. Tour the architectural and artistic wonders of the building, from the Capitol Rotunda to the Statuary Hall, Brumidi Corridors, Hall of Columns, and other key features. Conclude with the House and Senate Chambers, and the surrounding parks and gardens. x
    • 4
      The Supreme Court and the Law of the Land
      Study the founding and history of the Supreme Court, from its early era as an itinerant legal body to the completion of the Court building in 1935 under William Howard Taft. Tour this extraordinary structure, its interior features, court facilities, and artistic decoration. Then explore the Court in action, encompassing courtroom procedure and how cases are selected, adjudicated, and ruled upon. x
    • 5
      The Nation’s Knowledge: Library of Congress
      Visit the stunning premises of the world’s largest library, starting with the story of the library’s creation in the 18th century. Begin your tour with the monumental Jefferson Building, with its glorious Beaux Arts décor, followed by the remarkable facilities of the Adams and Madison buildings. Also visit the extraordinary Folger Shakespeare Library, and DC’s beloved Eastern Market. x
    • 6
      The State, Treasury, and Justice Departments
      Look into the origins and functions of the State Department, and visit the United States Diplomacy Center, as well as the stellar Diplomatic Reception Rooms. Continue with the Treasury Department’s Federal Reserve buildings, the beautiful Treasury Building, and the operations of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Then take in the fascinating history and headquarters of the FBI. x
    • 7
      Veterans Memorials on the Mall
      At the first of three iconic war memorials, learn the poignant story behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and how this once controversial monument is now considered a masterpiece. From there, take account of the artistically conceived Korean War Veterans Memorial, and finally the World War II Memorial, and its moving tribute to the “Greatest Generation.” x
    • 8
      Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon
      Grasp the historic connections between Arlington National Cemetery and the American Civil War. At the Cemetery, begin by visiting some of the gravesites of famous citizens, and the former mansion of Robert E. Lee. Among landmark sites at Arlington, see the Memorial Amphitheater, the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Marine Corps Memorial, Air Force Memorial, and the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. x
    • 9
      George Washington’s Mount Vernon
      At the home and estate of George Washington, trace Washington’s early life, and his inheritance and expansion of the plantation now known as Mount Vernon. Tour the estate, highlighting the impressive interior features of the mansion, a major focal point of social and political life in Virginia. In nearby Alexandria, visit historic sites associated with the life and career of George Washington. x
    • 10
      Ford’s Theatre and Lincoln’s Washington DC
      This lecture considers how the Civil War and the Lincoln presidency transformed the city. Among key sites of the era, explore the historic Willard Hotel and its dramatic connection with Lincoln; Fort Stevens and its wartime role; the Clara Barton National Historic Site; and President Lincoln’s Cottage, the “summer White House.” Then visit Ford’s Theatre, the site and memorial of the Lincoln assassination. x
    • 11
      Washington’s Civil Rights Landmarks
      Witness the impact on Washington of the civil rights movement, beginning with the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the national historic site of his home. As the focus of the lecture, take an in-depth tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its major galleries, and 36,000 artifacts that tell the nation’s story through the lens of the black experience. x
    • 12
      The Holocaust Museum
      Study the background of the extraordinary United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, its mission to preserve the history of Nazi atrocities against Jews and other persecuted groups, and the movement to memorialize these events through a museum and education center. Observe how the museum poignantly evokes pre-war Jewish experience, the horror of the Holocaust, and its aftermath and legacy, through images, personal objects, and oral histories. x
    • 13
      Museums on the Mall: Smithsonian and Beyond
      In a panoramic overview of the Smithsonian Institution, begin at the National Museum of American History, and its collection of historical treasures. Continue with the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the phenomenal collections of the National Air and Space Museum. Conclude with the wealth of art museums on the National Mall. x
    • 14
      Washington, City of Scandal
      Delve into the history of political scandals in Washington, and how the nation has come to terms with them. Learn first about the 19th-century Burr Conspiracy, focusing on former Vice President Aaron Burr. Then take stock of the scandals under President Ulysses S. Grant, the infamous Teapot Dome scandal, and finally the Watergate scandal, finishing at the Newseum, a media history museum. x
    • 15
      The Kennedy Center and the DC Arts Scene
      Within Washington’s hotbed of live entertainment, visit the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with its multiple performance spaces. Then learn about the National Theatre, The Shakespeare and Folger theatres, DC’s outstanding regional theaters, and music offerings from the National Symphony Orchestra to venues featuring jazz, rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, and alternative music. x
    • 16
      Neighborhoods of Northwest DC
      DC’s Northwest Quadrant is home to some of the city’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. Take in the beautiful architecture of Embassy Row, and that of two magnificent nearby mansions. Visit the Dupont Circle neighborhood and its extraordinary museums, as well as those of The George Washington University. Finish with a first look at the history and cultural richness of Georgetown. x
    • 17
      Washington’s Historic Homes and Gardens
      Washington’s private homes provide a fascinating window into the city’s history. Begin at the pre-Revolutionary colonial building of the Old Stone House, which shows how early DC citizens lived. Then discover three grand and storied mansions in Upper Georgetown. Visit the remarkable Octagon House; the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden of Marjorie Merriweather Post; and Woodlawn Plantation, which became a “free labor colony” with lots owned and farmed by free African Americans. x
    • 18
      Spiritual DC: The National Cathedral and More
      Take account of the plethora of religious institutions in Washington and consider the role of faith in the city’s history. Stop first at St. John’s Episcopal Church, closely associated with the presidency, and DC’s architecturally rich Catholic churches. Visit Jewish and Muslim houses of worship, and finally take in the historic and artistic treasures of the Washington National Cathedral. x
    • 19
      Smithsonian’s National Zoo
      Trace the history and mission of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, a Smithsonian institution now housing 300 animal species. Learn about the National Zoo’s remarkable exhibits of zoological rarities, from the clouded leopard to the giant panda. Take note of the National Zoo’s approach to recreating natural habitats, and the institution’s deep involvement with animal research and conservation of endangered species. x
    • 20
      Dining Out in Washington DC
      Washington offers an astonishing wealth of dining experiences, from historic to contemporary. First discover two of DC’s longstanding food traditions: seafood and soul food. Visit treasured historic restaurants around the city, and delve into the city’s world cuisine, from Ethiopian and Mediterranean to global fusion. Also take note of food festivals that take place in DC throughout the year. x
    • 21
      Washington’s New Waterfront
      Investigate the history of DC’s riverfronts on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and the outstanding revitalization programs now underway. Stop at Kingman and Heritage Island Park, and Anacostia Park, featuring trails, boat tours, and wildlife watching. Then visit National Harbor, District Wharf, and the Georgetown waterfront, with their many dining, shopping, and cultural offerings. x
    • 22
      Washington for Sports Fans
      Sports have a longstanding place in the history and culture of DC. Track the backstory of baseball, football, and basketball teams in Washington, and learn where to watch and play these highly popular sports now. Delve also into DC’s hockey and soccer scene, and the abundance of “imported” sports in the capital, from rugby and cricket to Irish hurling and Gaelic football. x
    • 23
      Exploring Washington’s Great Outdoors
      DC contains an array of beautiful green spaces, offering an alternative to the urban landscape. Among many, discover the story and the amenities of historic Rock Creek Park, and the riverfront walks and outdoor activities along the Potomac Heritage Trail. On the Anacostia River, visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, with its plethora of wildlife, and the botanical riches of the United States National Arboretum. x
    • 24
      The National Archives and the Future of DC
      Finally, learn about the treasures within the National Archives, including original copies of America’s founding documents, historic murals, and the poignant “Records of Rights” exhibit. Revisit the history of DC, and consider city plans that were never realized, “disappeared” Washington, and proposals for the city’s future. Conclude with thoughts on the dynamic, changing environment of DC. x
  • How to Write Best-Selling Fiction

    Professor James Scott Bell, JD

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD
    Embark on an insightful, intimate, and extraordinarily revealing look at the elements of best-selling fiction. Get a comprehensive, eye-opening, and illuminating survey of the entire writing process, as well as a full breakdown of how dozens of best-selling authors have implemented these best practices in their own writing. As an aspiring author, you will gain a wealth of tools that that will not only improve your ability to write, but will also increase your enjoyment of the craft.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Embark on an insightful, intimate, and extraordinarily revealing look at the elements of best-selling fiction. Get a comprehensive, eye-opening, and illuminating survey of the entire writing process, as well as a full breakdown of how dozens of best-selling authors have implemented these best practices in their own writing. As an aspiring author, you will gain a wealth of tools that that will not only improve your ability to write, but will also increase your enjoyment of the craft.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  How to Write Best-Selling Fiction
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Tell Me a Story
      Mr. Bell introduces you to the seven critical success factors of fiction and shows you how best-selling writers put them into practice. He explores literary genres through the success of best sellers written by authors such as Harper Lee and Gillian Flynn. He then challenges you to see if you have what it takes to be a best-selling author, as he outlines the 10 characteristics that a serious writer must possess. Discover why he surprisingly counts talent among the least important of the traits. x
    • 2
      Anatomy of a Best Seller
      What is a novel? Looking at examples from writers including John Grisham, Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos, J. D. Salinger, Suzanne Collins, Thomas Harris, and more, Mr. Bell analyzes first what makes a novel, and then, what makes a novel successful. He also provides his own insights by looking at the role luck plays in creating a best seller. Learn how you first must “master the pyramid” before you can “try your luck on the wheel of fortune.” x
    • 3
      Developing Ideas
      Jump-start your creativity with a selection of fun exercises, including “What-If Moments” and “The First-Line Game.” Mr. Bell cites best-selling authors such as Alice Sebold and Mickey Spillane to demonstrate the importance of creating unique elements: a twist, a character, a setting, a relationship. Find out how to create the ever-important elevator pitch. x
    • 4
      The LOCK System: A Foundation for Your Novel
      Using a proprietary system of his own invention, Mr. Bell introduces you to the foundational principles of a successful novel: LOCK (Lead, Objective, Confrontation, Knockout). He’ll demonstrate how famous authors such as Stephen King, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Theodore Dreiser, Michael Connelly, and others utilize these fundamental elements. Review the five types of endings and discover the pros and cons of each. x
    • 5
      Structuring Your Novel
      Learn why stories need—and love—structure. By rethinking a structure as a recipe, you realize you can still be original and creative within the template that works for best sellers. Dive into the writing styles of “pantsers” versus “plotters” and get a better understanding of whether you want to aim for a plot-driven or a character-driven story. And using the writings of John Grisham, Ernest Hemingway, James Patterson, Stephen King, E. L. Doctorow, Lee Child, and others, evaluate the traditional mythical structure of a three-act story. x
    • 6
      Act I: The Disturbance
      See how James M. Cain, Harlan Coben, Anne Lamott, Ken Follett, James Clavell, and Dean Koontz often use a jolt or disturbance in the first few pages, if not the very first sentence, to hook a reader in, and how that often contributes to the book becoming a best seller. Look at other elements that you will need to include in the first act that will build up the character bonding and tension, which will keep readers riveted. Mr. Bell reveals an easy-to-use visual map that will help you plot out the most important elements for each act. x
    • 7
      Act II: The Arena of Conflict
      Building out Act Two means creating an “arena of conflict”—this is where your lead realizes he or she needs to overcome a challenge. Mr. Bell introduces you to the concept of a “mirror moment” and provides examples of authors who have demonstrated this technique, such as Margaret Mitchell, Suzanne Collins, Mario Puzo, Harper Lee, Thomas Harris, and Dashiell Hammett. Uncover three other elements that make a great second act and get introduced to the four options which will get your character to the final battle. x
    • 8
      Act III and Resolution
      Mickey Spillane noted, “The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book.” Mr. Bell has already provided the tools to get your reader hooked with the first chapter—and potentially the first line! Now, he provides the five strategies that will help you end your book in a way that gets your reader craving your next title. x
    • 9
      Jump-off-the-Page Characters
      Now that you know the secrets of a page-turning plot, Mr. Bell opens the toolbox for creating characters. Learn how to use unpredictability so your readers don’t get bored with cliché characters or trite traits. Calling on the practices used by best-selling writers including Michael Connelly, Richard Stark, David Morrell, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lee Child, and Janet Evanovich, you’ll see how to develop flaws and baggage to make your characters relatable and human. Plus, get hints about building secondary characters, villains, and what it takes to keep a character interesting through an ongoing series. x
    • 10
      Bringing Characters to Life
      Mr. Bell reveals two ways to bring your characters to life, along with a myriad of techniques you can put into practice, including a list of questions to “ask” your character, a timeline, a voice journal, a simple relationship grid, and the areas you should plan to research. Study famous characters developed by Marcel Proust, Lawrence Block, Jim Butcher, Walter Mosley, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Joyce Carol Oates, and more to reveal the techniques the best sellers use. Learn how minor details such as patterns of speech, dress, physical appearance, mannerisms, tics, eccentricities, and even names can have a major impact. x
    • 11
      Point of View
      What does your point of view provide? The most important component of a point of view is that it establishes intimacy between a reader and a character. Dive into the concepts of point of view including: first person, omniscient, second person, and third person (limited and open). Study how Henry Fielding, Charles Dickens, Mario Puzo, James Clavell, J. D. Salinger, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. MacDonald, Suzanne Collins, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Herman Melville, and others use point of view successfully. x
    • 12
      The Essentials of Dazzling Dialogue
      Mr. Bell demonstrates how dialogue is the fastest way to improve any manuscript. He introduces the five functions of dialogue and breaks down the importance of vocabulary, syntax, and specifics like regionalism to help build the character. Examine examples from Orrie Hitt, Margaret Mitchell, John Howard Lawson, Charles Webb, and others. Explore the importance of subtext—what is underneath the words and how it can suggest secrets, fears, memories, yearnings, or hopes. x
    • 13
      Tools for Talk
      Gain insightful tips to keep realistic dialogue from being predictable by learning how to script the unexpected. Mr. Bell challenges you with exercises like determining the opposite of what a reader would assume a response should be, curving the language, and assigning “roles” to your characters to better form relationships, conflict, and realistic conversations. You’ll also gain tips for invoking silence—white space and inner monologues. Dive into the nuts and bolts of grammar in dialogue. x
    • 14
      Voice and Style
      What is voice? Mr. Bell hasn’t found a good definition, so he gives you his own. Citing examples from Janet Evanovich, Elmore Leonard, Douglas Adams, Tom Robbins, Dashiell Hammett, John D. MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, and others, you’ll gain the knowledge to master your voice by getting into your character. Then, delve into the rudimentary lessons of a good writer: showing versus telling, avoiding narrative summaries, writing great descriptions, and using telling details. Mr. Bell demonstrates some easy tools for helping you avoid common pitfalls, such as plotting an intensity scale and a seven-step checklist for creating a setting. x
    • 15
      Make a Scene
      According to Mr. Bell, a scene consists of objective, obstacles, and outcome. A character always has a goal in every scene, and without a challenge to the goal there is no momentum. See how Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Michael Connelly use an emotional beat—emotion, analysis, and decision—to build conflict and tension in a scene and keep it going. Dissect the elements to create and use a successful hook and how to end each chapter on a prompt that will make the reader want to keep reading. x
    • 16
      Subplots and Parallel Plots
      Understand how weaving in smaller conflicts and challenges—subplots and parallel plots—is a great way to expand a story’s range. Learn the three types of subplots. See how authors such as Jim Butcher, Margaret Mitchell, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, and Suzanne Collins successfully integrate subplots into their main story lines. Mr. Bell introduces a formula for determining how many subplots your book should have and a simple grid you can use to manage multiple plots. x
    • 17
      Deepening the Reader’s Emotional Experience
      Emotions can be tricky. You must walk a fine line to portray enough emotion to make your story and characters gripping and memorable, but also to avoid melodrama where the emotional hook feels contrived. Mr. Bell shows you how to map the hot spots so you don’t get bogged down writing it. He’ll unpack the power of authors who have mastered delivering an emotional punch, such as John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, John Harvey, and Raymond Chandler. He also introduces an exercise that helps you create strong yet concise emotional moments, and examines the power of metaphors to deepen emotional connection. x
    • 18
      First Pages That Grab the Reader
      Starting a scene is one of the most important parts of a book. Mr. Bell introduces you to the different kinds of beginnings and investigates the benefits of using a prologue. With examples from Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Ken Kesey, Michael Connelly, Suzanne Collins, John Gilstrap, Mickey Spillane, and David Morrell, you’ll learn how to start your scenes with a bang, raise big questions, and then switch things up in the next scene, so your readers are on the edge of their seats. x
    • 19
      Revising Your Novel
      Learn the two most important rules of writing and then hear Mr. Bell’s corollary to those rules. Revisions are extremely important and take a lot of discipline. Get helpful tips for a revision schedule, learn why you need to take a cool-off period before taking a first pass, gain tricks for helping you re-read with fresh eyes, and use shortcuts for marking places you need to come back to so you can read straight through. Mr. Bell also provides excellent advice about using outside readers, both professionals and “beta readers.” x
    • 20
      Blunders and Baloney
      Mr. Bell provides an overview of the most common blunders that could knock you out of the running for publication before you even get started, including awkward flashbacks, fluffy dialogue, being overly happy, or being too predictable. Using examples from best-selling writers including Sarah Pekkanen, Jodi Picoult, Dan Koontz, Mark Twain, and Toni Morrison, he re-evaluates some of the most common writing advice, busting common misconceptions and myths. x
    • 21
      Getting Published
      Mr. Bell unpacks the most important parts of a book proposal that you would send to an agent or a publisher: query, synopsis, and sample chapters—defining each, and breaking down what you should and shouldn’t do. He investigates the pros and cons of using an agent and publisher and gives invaluable advice on what to look for in an agent, how to negotiate a publishing contract, the importance of copyrights, how to protect yourself, and the most important component: getting paid! x
    • 22
      The Self-Publishing Option
      Is self-publishing a viable option? Are the writers who make a living through self-publishing simply lucky? Do you have what it takes to become an “author-preneur?” Mr. Bell spends an entire lecture breaking down the pros and cons of the self-publishing alternative. Gain a plethora of tips of how to find success when self-publishing and learn how to sort through the details like covers, formatting, picking a platform, marketing, and how to price your book. x
    • 23
      Marketing Your Work
      Even if you have an agent, you are still responsible for some aspects of marketing. But you don’t have to have an MBA or be a professional marketer to be a successful advocate for your work. Mr. Bell introduces you to the most important marketing tools. Get tips on selecting a marketable title, creating taglines, finding customers, using social media, building a website, using emails and newsletters, and knowing which self-publishing tools are worth the investment. x
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      Conquering the Mental Game of Writing
      Look at the most common reasons for writer's block and get tips for how to change your mental state when you feel blocked—see how something as simple as changing your location can change your mood and your mindset. Discover how to find inspiration in unusual places. And finally, Mr. Bell provides advice for dealing with rejection, which all writers face on occasion. Learn how to set your expectations and rejection won’t defeat you. x