I’m in the middle of reviewing and practicing my workshop with slides on fiction craftsmanship, the discipline that covers how one writes fiction. The rules for writing fiction are the subject of the mammoth The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press), now in its eighteenth edition. The fifteenth edition, the version that I have, is huge—it weighs three pounds and is a couple of inches thick and 957 pages in length. The rules for writing fiction are different from those for journalistic writing. The accepted bible for journalism is The Associated Press Stylebook, a much more modest volume.
Turns out that the rules for fiction and journalism writing are not very different, but, in my experience, any deviation from the fiction rules can get a manuscript immediately rejected by a fiction publisher.
So my presentation’s purpose is to help people get published. I point out that creativity is the most treasured resource for a fiction writer; it’s ingrained and cannot be taught. But craftsmanship can be taught and learned, and it is required to allow creativity to emerge. And that’s why I’m there teaching the class.
I’m scheduled to do the workshop in the middle of the month, so I have to get going on my rehearsing. It is in some respects the most difficult of my presentations because it is so meticulous and detailed. But I’ve done it many times over the years, so I’ll manage.
It is always so fulfilling to be able to help young writers.