The Slow Road

There is a myth in a lot of fields, especially from people looking in from outside, that you need talent to get anywhere. Perhaps talent helps, but I doubt it at this point. In fact, I doubt that anything helps except the grit to work hard and keep working hard at it while learning everything…

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…