This weekend I am teaching a workshop at the Greater Harvest Workshops in the Cincinnati/Dayton, Ohio area. If you haven’t registered, do it now before prices go up the 25th. Regardless of your writing level or experience, you will find a workshop to benefit you on your journey. My workshop is called YOU CAN WRITE A NOVEL. One of the best ways for preparing to teach a workshop—besides practicing what I preach of course—is to read what other writers have to say about getting the job done.
A while back I found an interview with Mitch Albom in Writer’s Digest. In case you don’t know, Albom is the fellow who wrote Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Albom seems to utilize a practical, no nonsense approach to writing that appeals to me. It doesn’t hurt that he’s very successful at what he does. They say the best way to learn something is to study those who have mastered what you want to do.
Here is an excerpt from the interview.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE WRITERS WHO WANT TO HAVE SUCCESS IN SEVERAL GENRES?
Don’t think that one audience isn’t as worthy as another. You have to treat all readers of all genres and formats the same. If you don’t take each format seriously, people may just walk out on you after a couple paragraphs. But if you find the essence of the story, the reader will ask that essential question: “What happens next?” If you can get them to do that, it doesn’t really matter where you’re writing.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST WRITING CHALLENGE?
Writing a novel for the first time was the biggest challenge. Until The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I had always dealt with the truth and the facts. As a result I’d been both limited by it and able to relax in it.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH EACH MEMOIR?
Writers and publishers tend to make more of fiction and nonfiction, memoir versus novel, than the average reader does. Most people just want to read a book. If you have a good story, people want to turn the p ages whether it’s a memoir or a novel.
What I gather from Albom’s advice is to take your writing seriously, regardless of your genre. Don’t write what’s in the moment or what you think is selling well. By the time you finish your manuscript tastes would’ve changed and you will be out of date.
Focus on the story. Story is king, was once said by someone great and prolific. Regardless of what you write—memoir, how-to, or cozy mystery—people want a good story that will hold their interest, at least until the end of the book. Give it to them, or risk losing them forever.
Hope to see you at Greater Harvest. Whether you are interested in writing devotionals, articles, or the Great American Novel, or you have an idea for a project but aren't exactly sure how to get started, the workshops will inspire and instruct, motivate and equip. Register now!