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Old 04-02-2009, 10:15 AM   #3
Moejoe
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The problem with writing workshops is that they're full of writers

All joking aside, writers develop their own methodologies and best practices over time, they lean toward one teacher or approach and that then becomes their 'way'. When you get a lot of writers together, you get a lot of opinion on what is best, and a lot of misplaced certainty. But writing isn't scientific, it's emotional, what works for one may not work for another.

I've been part of, and taught a few writing workshops, and in my experience writers are usually the worst people in the world to get advice from. What you want is 'readers', those who don't want to know about story structure, character development or plotting. Those to whom those concepts are quite alien. A writer will see flaws where there are none, they will compare and contrast and pick apart the seams that are seamless to the reader.

I know I sound quite down on these workshops, but I've found that to some, especially the shy, this approach can turn them off writing for a long time. Who knows what great stories and personal approaches we've lost over time to the opinionated teacher or the cruel critic.

My opinion, and this is heavily biased from years of writing and millions of bad words put down on paper, there are only 2 books that a writer needs in their library. One is for inspiration, the other is for the nuts and bolts of the craft.

Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing
and
Dwight V Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer.

After you've digested those two books you'll find writing to be quite easy and pleasurable. Most importantly though, trust in your passions, let slip your worst fears and greatest loves. In the end, that's all anyone can ask of you as a writer.
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