All writers read to learn. We can’t help it. Every story is an opportunity to improve our own craft.
We take stories apart, finding and borrowing techniques to use in our own work. The challenge is learning how to read in order to learn. Once you accomplish that, imagine the possibilities. Every day, a journal is publishing new and exciting work. Every day, we can sit down at our computers or notebooks and write, if only for ten minutes. Why not pair these activities? If you’re already reading and already writing, then you’re ready to become a better writer.
On this blog, we’ll read one story each week with the goal of finding tools or strategies to help inspire, organize, or craft our own stories. When possible, I’ll post an interview with the writer. Once a month, we will pair a contemporary story with a classic to see how different writers approach the same technique or problem. Each “lesson” will culminate in a writing exercise designed to put the technique to work.
The writing exercises are simple, fun, and effective. A former student wrote, “I’ve been in lots of workshops, a few brief encouraging ones with Joy Williams and Robert Stone, and have worked one on one with a few good writers, but I’ve gotten more from this than any workshop I can remember.”
The first exercise will be posted on Tuesday, February 5. Subsequent exercises will be posted on Tuesdays (as you settle into the workweek and need something to get you through it.)