Category: Writing Techniques

Seattle Class on Research

In my Seattle class on research and other writing topics, I discuss how to research stories and books. Research may sound like a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun. In writing about apprenticing in

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Shitty First Drafts, Writing Classes

In her book, Bird by Bird, writer Anne Lamott talks about the need to write a “shitty first draft” in order to get to a more polished draft. Giving yourself permission to write a “shitty first draft” allows you to

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Writing Classes and Colors of the West

In my writing classes, I emphasize how storytelling can bring a subject to life. It’s always rewarding to see a student use a story to help organize a story or book. I recently had the pleasure of coaching Molly Hashimoto,

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Razor Clams and Writing Classes

In my writing classes, I emphasize that the best books and stories grow out of a deep knowledge of the subject combined with an artful dramatization of it. This is the case with David Berger’s new book, Razor Clams: Buried

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Seattle Writing Class Teaches Power of Details

In my fall Seattle writing class, Revising Your Life, I emphasize how using concrete detail can conjure a world and bring it to life. I just finished a novel which provides a masterful example of how to do this. Anthony

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Seattle Writing Course Addresses Self-Publishing

In my Seattle writing courses, I tell students that once upon a time, writers would send out manuscripts to traditional publishers until they got a contract. If they tried and tried but got no contract, some of them would send

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Hemingway’s Influence on Seattle Writing Courses

In my Seattle writing courses, I emphasize how studying great writing is an essential part of learning to write. There are many outstanding writers, but Ernest Hemingway serves as an important inspiration for many writers, including myself. There is much

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Hemingway and Travel Writing Classes

In my travel writing classes, I like to emphasize how using scenes and concrete detail can make a place come to life as Ernest Hemingway did in A Moveable Feast and other works. I recently returned from teaching the Travel,

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Writing Classes Emphasize Storytelling

In my writing classes, I emphasize the need for strong storytelling skills as a way of reaching a wide audience. I just finished a book that demonstrates this exactly: Eric Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an

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Travel Writing Class and Goya’s Black Paintings

While teaching my Travel writing class for The Writer’s Workshop, I stopped by the Prado Museum in Madrid to see Goya’s Black Paintings. I’d written a long paper about the paintings for an art history class at Amherst College. When

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