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  • Random Lessons

    As many of us know, Joe has been a mentor and role model to many budding writers. Sandra Seamans, a short story writer, posted this yesterday to her blog.

    My Little Corner
    The scattered thoughts of short story writer, Sandra Seamans

    Friday, December 12, 2008
    Random Lessons
    http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com/20...om-lesson.html

    ... The Writer's Digest was an amazing learning tool for me and besides Block, there was Judson Jerome, Gary Provost, and J. Michael Straczynski. Every time the magazine showed up in my mailbox, these were the first four articles that I read before combing through the rest. ...

    Straczynski wrote the screen writing column. At the time he was also scripting "Murder, She Wrote" and working on "Babylon 5". From him I learned about plotting and dialogue and how to keep a story moving forward.

    Wonderful, wonderful teachers, who weren't afraid to share their knowledge and teach others the craft of writing. My thanks to all of them. ...
    Posted by sandra seamans at 3:10 PM
    Last edited by Dan Dassow; 12-14-2008, 12:59 PM. Reason: Forgot URL of Article

  • #2
    Random Lessons: Full Article

    As many of us know, Joe has been a mentor and role model to many budding writers. Sandra Seamans, a short story writer, posted this December 12, 2008 to her blog.

    With Sandra Seamans' permission, I am posting her full article to provide context.

    My Little Corner
    The scattered thoughts of short story writer, Sandra Seamans

    Friday, December 12, 2008
    Random Lessons
    http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com/20...om-lesson.html

    I just finished reading "A Walk Among the Tombstones" by Lawrence Block. It's one of his Matthew Scudder books and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'd tried Block once before but the book I chose went a whole chapter discussing some rare stamp which bored me to tears and I never picked up another of his books until now. But the book isn't what I'd like to talk about in this post. My mind tends to track sideways and Block brought back some memories that I thought I'd share.

    Back in the eighties when I decided to try my hand at writing, I picked up a copy of Writer's Digest. That was my first introduction to Block. He wrote the fiction column and dispensed the most amazing advice to beginners like me "who wanted to give writing a whirl and make a million bucks". God, how stupid was I?

    The Writer's Digest was an amazing learning tool for me and besides Block, there was Judson Jerome, Gary Provost, and J. Michael Straczynski. Every time the magazine showed up in my mailbox, these were the first four articles that I read before combing through the rest.

    Jerome wrote the poetry column that wasn't just about poetry. He taught me how to think poetry to write fiction combining the beauty of both.

    Provost had the non-fiction column and the best piece of advice I remember him giving was to write "evergreens", pieces that could be used anytime during the year. He said that editors hold on to evergreens. He was right. I had a magazine hold one of mine for ten years before I got a letter and a check for $50 saying they wanted to use the piece.

    The thing I remember most from Block was that not everyone can write a novel when they first start writing. Start small, he said, work your way up on small successes. He said so many writers thought only novels were worth writing and didn't bother to learn the craft well enough and ended up disappointed with a rejected manuscript in their desk drawer.

    Straczynski wrote the screen writing column. At the time he was also scripting "Murder, She Wrote" and working on "Babylon 5". From him I learned about plotting and dialogue and how to keep a story moving forward.

    Wonderful, wonderful teachers, who weren't afraid to share their knowledge and teach others the craft of writing. My thanks to all of them.

    And a quote from Gary Provost:
    "It is the writer's job, not the reader's, to see that writing accomplishes whatever goal the writer has set for it."

    Posted by sandra seamans at 3:10 PM

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, Dan. JMS has made it plain that he feels that the current successful writers have an obligation to pave the way for those coming after. I don't think I've read any of his Writer's Digest columns but having read a few that he wrote for (I think) Newsarama, he's got a straightforward style that I can see would be helpful.

      It's also very seldom that there's not a writing seminar at the conventions he appears at and I've always found them interesting, too, even though I don't have any serious aspirations of becoming a writer.

      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jan View Post
        Thanks, Dan. JMS has made it plain that he feels that the current successful writers have an obligation to pave the way for those coming after. I don't think I've read any of his Writer's Digest columns but having read a few that he wrote for (I think) Newsarama, he's got a straightforward style that I can see would be helpful.

        It's also very seldom that there's not a writing seminar at the conventions he appears at and I've always found them interesting, too, even though I don't have any serious aspirations of becoming a writer.

        Jan
        To paraphrase JMS, Sandra Seamans did the heavy lifting, I just copied her words.

        Comment

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