The next several lessons are a course in the basics of making stories. The lessons are derived from a course I taught for a number of years in the MFA Program in Writing at Lesley University, and they provide fundamental practices anyone can do to become a better storyteller on the page.
Story 1: Introduction
All literature is oral at its root…. Dante, Shakespeare, Melville, Flaubert, Joyce are read because they speak, although the pedants’ books are mum.
—Robert Bringhurst, A Story as Sharp as a Knife
In my three decades of teaching, here’s one of the most important things I’ve discovered: many people get stuck in their writing because they are trying to produce a complicated project, such as a novel, without first having learned basic skills. Aspiring novelists, as well as writers of nonfiction, often lack a most important skill—the ability to tell a story. (more…)
The Mastery Path for Writers: a new way to learn the skills you need
October 20, 2014
One of the main ways that humans learn is through imitation. Young children imitate the behavior and speech of their parents and older children. In the past, apprentices in various fields imitated the masters. In the present, aspiring athletes and musicians find models to imitate. Writers, too, can use this exceptionally valuable learning tool. Here’s one way: (more…)