Masterclass Review: Dan Brown on Writing Thrillers

Another excellent Masterclass instructor. I would say the best so far, but I think that I am going to say that a lot with MasterClass. I signed up in November with the intention of just doing this for a year, but I often say to Steve when we finish a class, “You know, these are…

Lessons Learned: Reading

I read a lot these days. Last year was almost entirely books of short stories and books on writing or publishing. This year I’m transitioning to novels, but I find myself drawn to a different sort of novel than I have been in the past. I’m a lot less picky about genre and a lot…

Lessons Learned: Dare to Be Bad

I’ve tried to front-load the most important lessons learned that allowed me to write a short story a week. After learning what the parts of a basic short story is (see the 7 Point Plot Structure in earlier blog posts) the next most important lesson was to set expectations. Writing a short story a week…

Lessons Learned: Climax and the End

This will be the last post on the 7 Point Plot Structure. I’ve taken my time laying out the lessons because it was critical to know how to write a short story before it became possible to write a short story in a week. The final two elements are the Climax and the Validation. I…

Lessons Learned: Traversing the Muddy Middle

More on the basics I learned to allow me to produce 52 stories in 52 weeks. I’m working my way through the 7 Point Plot Structure because without knowing that, I couldn’t write a single story in a week. It took me weeks and weeks of trial and failure to get a single working story…

Lessons Learned: What’s the Problem?

I’m still discussing the basics I learned that made finishing a short story a week for 52 weeks possible. As a reminder, the 7 Point Formula for Fiction begins with a Character in a Setting with a Problem. Without a problem there is no story. It sounds simple. Just give the character a problem, the…

Lessons Learned: Character, Setting, and Depth

When I first saw the 7 point plot outline my eyes slid over “A character, in a setting, with a problem.” Duh! Right? It turned out that some of my greatest problems were in the character and the setting. I failed to imbue them with what Dean Wesley Smith calls ‘Depth.’ I should have known…

Lessons Learned?

Last night I read through all of the emails I wrote to Dean to accompany each of the 52 stories. Dean said not to whine and I tried my best not to. So, most of them were just “Here’s the story, hope you enjoy it.”  But sometimes I had terrible weeks trying to write a…

Stay In Place Virtual Writing Conference Impressions

Yesterday I attended (or attempted to attend) the Stay In Place Virtual Writing Conference. Here are my impressions: First the good. The speakers were excellent! I especially enjoyed Jodi Lynn Nye’s talk on humor. In fact, she is one of those teachers that once I get a taste of, I want to follow her everywhere…

WMG Short Story Craft Workshop Sum Up

Summing up the Short Story Craft workshop is tough because the most important parts of the workshop can’t be summed. It wrought a transformation in how I look at my own work and how I look at short stories in general. I have a tremulous butterfly of knowledge beating in my chest now that I…