Some Plans for Learning the Craft

In this blog entry I wanted to brainstorm about what I could do to learn the craft of writing. I have learned enough to know how little I really know about writing fiction. It is not as easy as it looks. Those that write books have done a lot of work. Even if you read a book that you think is junk,  that author penned the words to paper, (or paid someone else to write it). After that, they either sold it to a publisher or self-published it. That, in itself takes a lot of effort. In addition, it has to be readable, have correct grammar. If it is fiction, it needs to elicit an emotional response from a target reader. There are also large details like setting, plot, characters, voice, point of view. I am sure there are a lot of other issues I left out due to my own lack of experience. I know I have a lot to learn.

I know I won’t be competing with Hemingway for a very, very long time, but as a recent retiree, the reality is that I have to get up to speed quickly.  I have to learn this craft in a relatively short time. I do hope that my life experiences combined with a small degree of expertise at academic writing will push me up the learning curve.

With this in mind, I am attempting to put together an ad hoc program for myself to bring me up to speed in the writing world. I have put together a list of resources I intend to tap. I am sure many more resources will surface during this journey. My initial list is below:

  • Writing courses at local educational institutions.
  • Online writing courses
  • Books on writing fiction
  • Writing organizations
  • Networking with local writers
  • Periodicals about writing
  • Websites by authors I admire
  • Reading
    • Thriller classics
    • Best selling current thrillers
    • Thrillers that are similar to what I want to write but may not be best sellers
    • Classics in other genres
    • Best sellers in other genres

Well, this is where I am heading. I am looking at a large number of rabbit holes into which I could happily spend the remaining productive years of my life. The trick will be to develop the discipline to glean what I need from each rabbit hole and without falling into the trap of trying to learn everything.  I also need to “write along the way,” as I learn about the craft of writing. I believe learning to write is like learning to swim. You can’t just learn it from a book, you have to dive into the water.

This blog is my first swim. Please pardon any wet pages.




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