Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four Levels of Learning--From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence

I am sharing a post I wrote last summer, because my Madeline Island retreat is coming up again in July, and I remembered this wonderful experience we had there. If you're interested in learning more about the retreat, click here. One spot just opened up for the July 18-22 retreat and four spots are still open for the July 25-29 retreat this year.  Writers who went there last summer still write me about how their books suddenly came together, just from the supportive community and great atmosphere of the retreat.  It's hosted by Madeline Island School of the Arts, which provides lodging and most of the meals.  Our classroom is large and airy, there's plenty of writing time, and you get feedback for your work.  Feel free to join me--it's truly an amazing week.

At my book-writing retreat on Madeline Island (Lake Superior) last 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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mixing Things Up--Another Look at How to Break out of Writer's Block

Alison McGhee, writing instructor and author of many wonderful novels including Shadow Baby and Rainlight, once taught a very effective exercise in a writing class I attended.

Lists were written on the whiteboard: people of different ages and different objects. She asked us to choose one specific from each list and

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Forest and Trees--Balancing the Long View and Short View as a Book Writer

When you’re writing a book, you have to simultaneously hover over the forest, while you're noticing the tiny leaves of each tree.  Being in two places at once, you must keep in mind your overall book’s focus and structure, how you want it to come together--at the same time as you work on a tiny detail of one scene or chapter.

It’s often hard to balance these two viewpoints well.  Most new book writers

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hands-on storyboarding workshop--get feedback on your book idea

Weekend book workshop, August 6-7, Manchester, NH.  For more information click here.

Reading from the End--An Effective Way to Troubleshoot Your Writing

A student in my current online class had written a wonderful chapter for her book.  It was working almost perfectly:  the tension was high, the characters were strong, I could see the setting and it enhanced the emotion of the moment very effectively.  But there was something not quite there.

The writing needed some help, and at first I