📚 I participated in a fantastic craft class today with Alice Hatcher, author of The Wonder That Was Ours. She was interviewed by Reneé Bibby, Director of the Writers Studio Tucson, and local students in the Master and Advanced workshops.
Horror 101: The Way Forward edited by Joe Mynhardt explores a tremendous territory of information, advice, and experience with essays written by many different creatives who work in the genre. These essays are organized into four main sections about the horror genre itself, the artistic opportunities in horror, writing horror, and building and maintaining a career in horror. There are some very useful commonalities to be found between various essays, but there are many differences, too, and even contradictory information. I love that. I found this mix especially inspiring because it underscores just how much room there is for you and me to explore the genre as singular readers, writers, artists, and enthusiasts. Even when I told myself I would absolutely *NOT* emulate what a particular essayist has done in their career, I loved learning about their experiences and how this only proves how wide open horror is.
The tone and humor might be a little dated, even insensitive and problematic at points, but there’s no question that Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a book packed with useful, easily digestible, but comprehensive information. Ostensibly written for screenwriters, I think novelists and short stories writers will find this book equally as beneficial. It might even have a thing or two to teach poets.
I’ve written an entire novel before, a few of them in fact, but I’ve never completed 50,000 words during National Novel Writing Month in November. According to my stats on the NaNoWriMo website, I came close in 2013 with over 36,000 words. In 2016, I gave up after only 8,000 words.
How you participate in class can mean the difference between a rewarding learning experience and an utter waste of your—and everyone else’s—time and money.
How to group poems into manuscripts that will go out to several potential markets?
I have no idea.
A tiny celebration for a small accomplishment: a little notebook full of handwritten poetry fragments.
I don’t believe in natural talent.
Counseling, when you find the right counselor and when you engage with them honestly and with a willingness to do what they suggest, can work wonders and reshape your entire life.
A writing practice or process is individualized. You pay attention to your own patterns and preferences and begin to select the steps and tools that work best for you. You carve out your own space and time for writing. You reject what isn’t helpful and you practice what is. I’ve spent the past few weeks doing all of this and with my fledgling new writing process I crafted the first draft of a 5000-word short story. I’m not offering the details of my writing process as a model for what will work for you. Mine is just one example of a writing process that will hopefully inspire you to build your own.
It occurs to me that I haven’t written much about The Writers Studio workshops I’ve been attending regularly for the past year. It has been such a positive experience that I think I have been trying to keep it all to myself. No more. This is the real deal and writers no matter what their level of craft may find The Writers Studio helpful.
The problem with some men (Many? Just me?) in their twenties is that they won’t shut up and listen. Instead they pronounce. Loudly. I pronounced on a writing forum that the only writers who are successful and published are those who sacrifice themselves entirely and painfully to their art. I called out people I believed would probably never be published to defend my pronouncement. I called out housewives and retirees specifically.
Maybe this post is about isolation after all.
The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig includes over 30 lists of 25 tips about various subjects like writing, rewriting, craft, and publishing. The tips are really helpful and comprehensive. Some of the tips are repeated, but I found that extremely useful; this is a good way to cement in my brain tips that might be especially helpful to me in the future. While I read the book from beginning to end, I think I’m going to enjoy it most by coming back to specific lists when I need inspiration at those particular steps in my writing.
Everything is awful.
I remember fondly buying a few editions of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling in the 1990s. I was in my twenties and while many of the stories and their level of craft were opaque to me at the time, I felt I had stumbled onto a magical tradition.
So should writers give up writing, especially if reading is on the decline as other forms entertainment become much more popular?
This is the time to enjoy the way things used to be or are currently, before everything changes due to technology.
A long time ago when I lived in Rochester, New York, I stupidly wrote a letter to a coworker and mailed it to his home. It was not really a love letter, but it might as well have been.
My sad public admission this week: I’m not very well read.