Sunday, September 26, 2010

Expansion and Contraction: The Art of Working with Scene and Summary in Your Writing

Every book balances immediate writing in present time and writing that feels more reflective, that shares a passage of time or an overview of events. “Scene” and “summary” create different effects. In revision they need to be considered for placement and quantity in your book.

Imagine a story with nothing but scene. It feels very close-up and personal, with everything happening right in front of us, right now, a string of individual moments, all important and vivid. The pace is so ridiculously fast, though, there is little time to absorb the meaning of what’s happening.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Building a Writing Practice That Helps You Realize, Access, and Sustain Your Creativity

Few books arrive fully formed. Rather they grow from regular, unflinching practice of our art and craft. Writing a book takes the same everyday hard work that tennis players put in practicing their volleys, swimmers their laps, violinists their scales.

Practice leads to developed skills.

I’ve found that approaching writing as practice, taking small steps rather than big leaps toward your goal, is a great soul-soother. It fosters the belief that

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Unconscious Competence

In my Madeline Island retreat on book-writing this past July, we were joined by a man who summered on the island.  He was retired from a very successful sales career and as he was a last-minute addition to the group and hadn't taken my book-writing workshops before, I wondered how he would do.

One sunny morning midweek, the class was struggling with the learning curve of three-act structure.  Suddenly Pete raised his hand with something to share.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Creative Innocence versus Creative Resistance

It's September again.  Crisp school supplies, clean classrooms, launching into a fresh cycle of learning.  September for me is about being a beginner, as much as possible.

In fact, it's something I try to cultivate at this time of year.

Most of us resist not knowing.  We hate being seen as rank beginners.  We love being seen as