Writing “Don’ts” from Top Authors

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…)

How to Write Better Characters: Advice from Top Authors

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…)

Sweating the Technique: How 8 Top Authors Approach the Writing Workbench

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.