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The Impossible Dream?

By Vickilane
The Impossible Dream?
Ever since I became a 'published author' back in 2005, I've been amazed at how many folks out there have that same dream. Whenever I speak at a bookstore or a library or any sort of writerly event, I can count on being asked how I got started -- and sometimes folks are surprised to learn that one little class that met just six times (and I missed one of those) was all it took. No MFA (Masters of Fine Art) in writing, no series of conferences and workshops, no grants from arts councils -- just this one simple class  was the catalyst to get me going.

Bill Brooks  taught that class (Writing Fiction That Sells!) I took back in 2000. He suggested at the first meeting that we decide what sort of novel we were going to write -- romance, western, mystery, sci fi, etc. -- come up with a protagonist and setting, and use these in each assignment. With any luck, when the six weeks were up, we'd have at least a toe hold on a novel.

And this is when my Elizabeth Goodweather was born. By the time the class was over, I'd gotten to know her and the setting fairly well -- I'd written a dialog so I knew what she sounded like; I'd written a romantic scene (blush;) and a scene with building tension. I had, in fact, found the beginnings of my voice as a writer.

Bill also explained to us clueless novices just how one went about finding an agent -- and what exactly an agent does. He told us how to format our manuscripts and how to write a query letter. Nuts and bolts stuff -- all of which made that impossible dream seem a little more possible.

During the last class as Bill was packing up to leave, I asked him if he'd tell each of us what were our greatest strength and greatest weakness. And Bill just looked at me and said, "You don't have the passion it takes to write a novel."


Four or five published novels later, I was teaching a workshop at a writers' conference and I told this story. One of the women in the group raised her hand and said,  "I took a class with Bill. He told me I was a terrific writer and I should keep at it. Unfortunately, I just stuck what I'd been working on in a drawer and forgot about it... I kinda wish he'd pissed me off instead."

All of which is to remind those of you in the Asheville area that starting in February I will be teaching a beginners class very similar to the one I took with Bill. It's a nuts and bolts approach to fiction that may just kick start that novel you've been wanting to write. There's a description of the class over there in the sidebar>>>

And who knows -- maybe I'll piss you off...

Great Smokies Writing Program classes HERE
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