Online Course: Novel Writing 101 with Hollis Gillespie


Novel Writing 101; Writing the Breakout Book with Hollis Gillespie

Tues., June. 2–July 7, 2020, 7–9 p.m. EST

CLASSES MEET ONLINE! You can attend from anywhere in the world. We have had enrollees attend across the country and across the globe! (Recently we had students attend from Switzerland, Colombia and England).

Master the essentials of plot-point development, character, dialogue and writing style in this unique 6-week course with best-selling author Hollis Gillespie. Known for her ability to galvanize writers into producing their best works, Gillespie, founder of the largest writing school in Atlanta, has led scores of writers to the publishing promised land. Students who have taken her courses have landed book deals with HarperCollins, FWMedia, Random House and McGraw-Hill. Three have gone on to become bestsellers themselves, and two have gone even further and sold the film rights to their books. You’re next. No matter your genre — young-adult, memoir, romance, etc. — This course is designed to guide and inspire you to discover the structure you need to create a manuscript that is so well-crafted you’ll be proud to shop it to agents and publishers.

This 6-week course is taught in-person using ZOOM on-line conferencing. It’s super simple! Click HERE information on joining and using Zoom.

In this 6-week online course, you will learn how to:

  • Develop compelling characters
  • Write engaging dialogue
  • How to capture your audience with the first page
  • Write a proposal that excites literary agents
  • Evaluate topics
  • How to get an agent (if you need one)
  • Find your natural narrative
  • Polish your story arc for your particular genre
Justine Cowan, a December, 2017, Shocking Real Life Writer’s Retreat student, left class and subsequently created a frenzy among potential literary agents for her book, The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames, ultimately landing super-agent Mollie Glick (left) at Creative Artists Agency (which represents Hollywood elites like Laura Dern, Al Pacino and yours truly, Hollis Gillespie). CAA then took her book idea to the auction block, creating a BIDDING WAR that landed her a SIX FIGURE deal at HarperCollins!! For a first-time author!! 
Here’s how they tout it: “The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames follows the touching journey American lawyer Justine Cowan makes as she pieces together her mother’s childhood alongside the history of the Foundling Hospital: from its idealistic beginnings, its role in the development of solitary confinement and human medical experimentation in the 18th century, to its closure after the Second World War. This was the environment that shaped a young girl then known as Dorothy Soames, who was left behind by a mother forced by stigma and shame to give up her child; who withstood years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a sadistic headmistress, dreaming of escape as German bombers circled the skies, unaware all along that her own mother was fighting to get her back.”

You could be next! Students meet weekly online via Zoom conferencing. Enrollees are both local to Atlanta, out-of-state or out-of-country. Very easy, low-tech instructions on how to attend the workshops online in real time will be available upon enrollment. It is a lively, fun, creative, action-oriented course. Enrollment is limited due to the extent of individual attention devoted to each manuscript.

Click below to sign up for Novel Writing 101; Writing the Breakout Book, a 6-week course with online discussion/tutorials each Tuesday, June 2–July 7, 2020, 7–9p.m.

Add to Cart

Cost: $495 — We accept all credit cards as well as Paypal ( CashApp ($HollisGillespie), Venmo (@Hollis-Gillespie), and Zelle ( 100% safe and secure payment. Instant confirmation upon enrollment. (SRL Alumni, enter the coupon code NOVEL101 to get your $50 alumni discount!)

ONLINE attendance: We’ll send you detailed instructions on how to attend class and/or tutorials online.


Hollis Gillespie (seen here on her appearance on The Tonight Show) is an award-winning humor and travel columnist, whose column appeared every month on Atlanta magazine’s back page. She is also a best-selling author, NPR commentator, professional speaker, and guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (“A very funny lady,” says Leno.) Her work has been optioned by Sony Pictures, Paramount, and Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls and The Marvlous Mrs. Maisel. She has collaborated with Hollywood hard hitters like Mitch Hurwitz, the creator of Arrested Development, Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, producers of Two and a Half Men, Bill Haber (Rizzoli and Isles) and Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz). (George Clooney has also kissed her twice. Twice!) Hollis herself has been featured on scores of TV shows and news programs and runs Shocking Real Life Learning Center, the largest writing school in Atlanta, which offers workshops on book writing, blogging and social media. Her next book, titled The Unaccompanied Minor, is due out in August 2013.These days she gets most of her exercise running to catch flights.


“Hollis Gillespie’s writing class is where my life was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY changed forever!” Christal Presley, author of 30 Days with my Father, who became a best-seller after taking this workshop. She’s been featured on NPR, Atlanta Journal Constitution and others news outlets. Click here to see her on Fox News.

“I had two things working for me that I believe made the difference: determination and Hollis Gillespie’s kick-ass work shop! The workshop gave me the confidence I needed to continue following my dream of becoming a published author. She was key to helping me fine tune my proposal and her personal involvement in my journey has been invaluable.” Lisa Baron, author of Life of the Party; a Political Press Tart Tells All, became an Amazon best-seller after taking this class. Recently she sold her film rights to NBC! Click here to see her feature in Atlanta magazine.

“I wanted to THANK YOU, Hollis, for your workshop. It played a crucial role in being able to complete and submit a successful book proposal.”Rachael Brownell, author of Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore, who became a best-selling author after taking this class. She has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America and NPR