Learning to Write, A Life-Long Task


As I write this, I’m two days into the 9th annual Writer’s Conference and Literary Festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I’m here for a break from the terrible winter up North and to learn as much as I can from the other writers, agents and publishers who comprise the 900 attendees. I believe learning is a life-long task, sometimes a joy, sometimes a grind, and that without continuing to learn, we stagnate.

In this post and the ones that follow, I’d like to share some of what I’ve been learning here or remembering from past writing workshops. The first lesson, explicitly stated here by successful writers such as Calvin Trillin (journalist, humorist and author of 28 books) and obvious from the multitude of published and unpublished writers that are here trying to learn and to advance their careers, is that it’s very unrealistic to expect fame, fortune, or even financial security to come from a writing career.Roblox Robux Hack 2017

I write because I love the process of trying to tell a story that amuses me and might amuse other people. Other writers have personal experiences and/or more powerful stories they want to share. I’m sure there are as many motives for writing as there are people who do it. But I think that almost all writers, even if they don’t like a particular piece or the whole body of an author’s work, appreciate the time and effort it takes to write a decent article, poem, short story, memoir or novel.

With 7 classes on different subjects going on simultaneously in each of two sessions each morning, I had to choose the topic or teacher I thought would be most interesting to me. I didn’t always guess right, but the classes were taught at a professional level. One excellent one I attended was taught by Jeff Kleinman, a founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, a literary agency in NYC. Jeff emphasized several points he found critical (but not sufficient) in the writing of a good novel:

1. The author must find every character’s unique voice.
2. The author must not get between the character and the reader (by intrusions of voice, opinion, teaching, excessive description, etc.).
3. “Readers care about characters because characters care about something that’s critical for them.”
4. “Everything boils down to emotion…we are carried along by emotion,” which provides the momentum of a story, memoir or novel.

In my next post, I’ll describe a technique Jeff suggested to help find and understand a character’s unique voice.


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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] following is a guest post from author Loren Schechter, and originally appeared on his blog.  Loren’s second book, Ethics of the Undead, was recently published through Merrimack […]

  2. […] my recent post, I promised to share a writing technique recommended by Jeff Kleinman, a literary agent and […]

  3. […] the way, I do know I promised my next post would be to share a writing technique I recently learned.  Don’t worry, that […]

  4. […] following is a guest post from author Loren Schechter, and originally appeared on his blog.  Loren’s books, Murder in Millbrook and Ethics of the Undead, were both published through […]

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