How to Learn or Teach Story Writing

How to Teach Story Writing

(You can’t)

You learn/teach writing the same way you learn to write with a pencil. Think back to your first days at school and to how you learned to print with a pencil. Your teacher would draw a letter or letters of the alphabet on the chalk board and you would draw the letters with a pencil the size of a two by four on paper that was the color of tree back and felt about as smooth. Think back, as hard as you tried you could never (at least at first) exactly copy the teacher’s style. In the end you developed your own style, your own flourishes, your own way of printing by copying.

Think about it. This is the way you learn to write a novel, short story, or trilogy. You read what others have written and then you write like them. You don’t copy. It takes more effort to copy someone than to write your way. If you copy you have to keep turning off the writer inside you and write like the person you’re copying. That takes much more work.

To write like your favorite author you have to analyze how they write. Have you every analyzed the way your favorite author writes?

Here’s a quick analysis to run. Take a great action scene out of a work by your favorite author and list all the verbs she uses. It’s a simple analysis to count the number of verbs. How many times are the verbs repeated? How many letters are in the verbs (are they short or long words) (if it’s action scene they should be short). Are they high brow words? Now try to write something and use the verb mix your favorite author uses.

Analyze the names of characters. Do they have hidden meanings? Are they common names? Are they over the top names? Is there a color theme to the names (did the author play the game of Clue a lot)?

Learning to write a story is a lot work. Hard work. Work you are going to have to do. You are going to have to read lots of books. That what many famous writers tell beginning writers to do. You got to read, and not just in your genre. Then you are going to have to work, go back over what you just read and analyze what you read. It will take a while, but you’re going to find that the analysis fun

You are not going to find out how to write by reading some blog post, or watching some You Tube video. You are going to have to read, analyze, and write. It’s all work and it’s all the greatest job in the world. Now get writing.

Stay strong, write on.    Professor Hyram Voltage

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