Class is in Session

In Classes, Craft, General on August 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm

The first week of Fiction’s Magic Ingredient is underway. I don’t know yet how my students are feeling, but I’m enjoying reading their work, and eavesdropping on their discussion via the class message board. I always get energized by talk of craft; it’s why I really should be a perpetual student. I can never get enough learning. Even in the act of teaching I learn. Maybe more so, in fact.

Here are some discussion topic questions we’ve been mulling over:

What are your stumbling blocks as a writer?

What skills do you covet (that you don’t feel you possess?)

Session II, which is full, begins August 30th. I’m contemplating a session III since I’ve had so much interest. If you think you’re interested, email me at:


  1. I have a couple of major stumbling blocks myself. First, I seem to have the problem that if I don’t have a prompt in front of me, I can’t write. It’s not that I can’t come up with ideas, I just have a hard time focusing any of my ideas into a story unless I’m guided by a prompt of some sort.

    My second problem is that I tend to write, then set something aside to edit later, and then it ends up sitting somewhere on my computer – not finished, and not being submitted.

    I wish I could figure out what has caused these problems and how to overcome them. As I mentioned, I don’t have a problem thinking of ideas on my own, it’s just I can’t get anything focused unless I’m looking at a prompt of some kind. I wish I could just take some of my ideas, and be able to get them into a focused, maintained idea.

    I also wish that I could figure out why I let pieces sit without editing them. When I finally get to it, I sit and edit it and send it out, and all is good. However, I have a hard time getting myself to that editing stage. If I could overcome that issue, I know that I would be able to have more submissions out at a time.


    • John, I don’t know that letting time lag between writing and editing really is a problem! I actually recommend to my students that they do exactly that, since sometimes being too close to one’s work makes it hard to edit it. Also, I think there’s a necessary pause one needs to take after the intense energy of creativity. Maybe you need to identify why it feels like a problem.

      And I also think there’s nothing wrong with needing a prompt to write. Others will tell you that writing is a muscle and that if you just keep showing up and pecking out words with no prompts, eventually you’ll get good at it. But I say, why fight what works for you?

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