Recently I condensed my notes from 12 years of courses at the Miami Writers Institute and 12 years of building my own writing career into 12 days of emails. The notes from these courses contained many gems on the “do’s” of writing. But what about the “don’ts?” Some of the most interesting thoughts on writing – the pet peeves, the off-the-cuff comments – showed up in a simple search for the word “don’t.” Here are some things that top authors think you should definitely NOT DO. (more…)
Here are some of the best pieces of advice from 12 years of writing classes at the Miami Writers Institute. I’ve condensed some of the lessons learned from these classes, and from 12 years of building my own career as an author, into 12 days of emails. This post is a collection of great one-liners on how to build better characters. (more…)
Recently, I condensed my notes from twelve years of writing workshops into a twelve-day email series. The result is part creative writing crash course, part mobile-friendly memoir of what it takes to build a writing career. One of the things that struck me, looking back over the notes, was how often these instructors – well-known authors from around the country – were able to describe their work processes almost as if they were mechanics, or lab technicians, or computer programmers. Professional authors, it turns out, approach their work like. . . work. They’ve thought about how to reverse-engineer good writing. They have methods for picking topics and following the threads of their subject matter. They have strategies for getting unstuck. Here is a collection of some of the most workmanlike thoughts that authors shared during their workshops.
In a good writing workshop, you learn more than just the subject you signed up for. You also get time in a small group with one of those mythical creatures that many of us dream of becoming one day: someone who writes for a living. Workshops are one of the few chances you get to ask well-known authors questions about writing life – including how to build one of your own. Here, from twelve years of notes from writing workshops, are the nuggets shared by author-instructors on making it as a writer.
Here is a basic explanation of plot structure – similar to what you’ll hear in any high school language arts class. Examples of each plot point come from the adorable kids’ book Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. (more…)