I'm Teaching Master Classes In Story Writing: Care To Watch?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

In woodworking, they say the difference between the amateur and the pro is that the pro knows how to fix his mistakes.  And that’s true.  You’re always going to have a door that doesn’t quite fit, or a frame that’s not quite square, or dovetail joint that doesn’t match up; that’s the nature of working with an organic material.
The trick is to know what to do when things go wrong.
And quite a bit has gone wrong for me as I’ve been live-writing my latest story.  My first idea didn’t pan out, and I had to be smart enough to recognize when to bail on it after three separate attempts.  The second idea wound up having a very tricky plot that was at odds with its emotional impact, and so I wrote literally three passes on the first 2,000 words before I was content to call it even a first draft.  And this sucker is due in two weeks.
What I’m doing at the Clarion Echo this year is fixing a story in real time.  This is as clear a view as I can give you into my head when I’m analyzing a nonfunctioning story, showing you how I’m diagnosing the problems, erasing the weak parts that aren’t working and uncovering the core so I can bring it back to life.  Which, I think, is the kind of information I would have killed for ten years ago back when I was wandering in the woods, wondering why my stories weren’t selling.  Stories involve getting tons of tiny details right, and I’m showing you what happens when you focus on the wrong details – and, more importantly, how to strip those inessential elements away to bring out the truth in it.
Plus, you get stories.  This week I’ll be rewriting my tale “The Girl Dances, The White Curtain Flutters,” the tale of a girl on a mining asteroid who’s in love with Bollywood movies.  That’s a good solid draft I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy, and then I’ll show you what I need to fix to take it from “good” to “salable, perhaps.”
If that sounds interesting, then I’ll remind you that I am blogging for the Clarion Write-A-Thon, and a mere $5 donation gets you access to six weeks’ worth of intensive analysis from me.  ($25 gets you a short story critique, if you desire one.)   And even if you’re not at all interested in the nuts and bolts of writing, if you could donate whatever you can, I’d take it as a personal favor – Clarion was the workshop that took me from “struggling nobody” to “Oh, wait, maybe I have heard of that guy” in the world of fiction, and I feel a deep responsibility to my alma mater.
So.  $5 and an LJ account will get you in.  I’ll do my damndest – have been doing my damndest – to make it worth your while.  Please donate?

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