Fiction Craftsmanship (2)

Yesterday afternoon I did my workshop on fiction craftsmanship in Elkton, Maryland—as I indicated I was planning to do in yesterday’s blog. I had only two participants. That’s not unusual. Not many people are willing to devote themselves to an art that pays poorly and is famously difficult. Both participants were dedicated writers who wanted to sharpen their skills. Both, as far as I could tell, benefitted from the workshop.

I was surprised, as I often am, that so much of the workshop’s content was new to the participants. As I say in the introduction to the presentation, fiction craftsmanship (sometimes called technique) is a neglected subject. We apparently assume that there is nothing to know about formatting, word usage, and sentence structure peculiar to fiction writing. That’s why I call fiction craftsmanship “the forgotten discipline.”

This offering of the workshop was especially difficult for me. It required an hour-and-half drive both ways, and on the way home I was caught in the aftermath of hurricane Ida. And yet, it was well worth it. Watching enlightenment dawn on the faces of the two students as I explained how they could write better made it all worthwhile.

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