Writing High on the Wall  

Description: This interactive workshop focuses on the nuts and bolts of what goes into good writing -- style, syntax and clarity. 

P.G. Wodehouse would pin the pages of his manuscript to the wall of his study at knee level, and as he rewrote them, he would raise them higher on the wall till they were all at eye level indicating that they had reached the kind of polish he found acceptable. I think that "writing high on the wall" is wonderful metaphor for what all writers should strive to achieve. It is interesting to note that we find it much easier to improve someone else's writing than our own. 

Level of Writer: Beginning and developing. Although the workshop focuses primarily on the craft of writing, it is not specific to fiction. In fact, good technical writing has all the same attributes as good fiction writing. The workshop includes writing and writing exercises that examine the three sisters of good writing -- style, syntax and clarity.

 

Sweating the Big Stuff

Description: This workshop focuses on what an editor looks for when reviewing a fiction manuscript and offers a perspective on the kinds of tools available to evaluate a work-in-progress.

In my professional writing career, I do much more than sit in front of the computer staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what key to hit next, I also work as a fiction editor, a job that can be tedious, terrifying and fun—sometimes all in one M/S. I have edited more than thirty books over a ten-year period and read dozens of manuscripts for potential publication. If there’s one major difference between an experienced writer and an emerging writer, it’s that the experienced writer knows how to “sweat the big stuff.” Not that “the little stuff” isn’t important—it is, but spelling, punctuation, syntax and style are merely cladding for the structure beneath. That’s where the story is. Somebody once said that “voice is everything,” but really, you can have all kinds of voice and still not have a story. Structure is everything.

Level of Writer: Beginning and developing. Although the workshop focuses primarily on the structure of short fiction, it is applicable to any kind of story making, and while writing implements are necessary for the workshop, it is not a writing exercise. It is an interactive discussion on Structure And The Essential Parts of Story and is intended to delineate a process for evaluating/editing the writer's own work. Participant work samples required a week in advance of workshop date.