Free Writing Seminar from Writers Digest

Not sure what y’all are up to on December 4th at 1pm… I’ll be at work, unfortunately. If you are so lucky as to be free, why not take a great seminar for FREE? Register here for James Scott Bell’s workshop on revising your first draft, editing dialogue and more. I’ve been lucky enough to take a workshop with Bell, and he’s very helpful. If you ever feel like you’re just slogging along, buried in the muck, he can help make novel-writing feel more like a clear process.

Here’s the description:
*How to approach the first read-through
*Shorthand editing marks
*What to do about common problem areas
*How to revise the opening
*Tips for revising dialogue
*Integrating theme during revision
*The final polish

Whip your manuscript into shape with NOVEL REVISION: CRAFT A STORY READERS CAN’T PUT DOWN.

James Scott Bell is the author of PLOT & STRUCTURE and numerous thrillers, including DECIEVED, TRY DYING AND WATCH YOUR BACK. He served as the fiction columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine and has written other popular craft books for Writer’s Digest Books, including: THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS, CONFLICT & SUSPENSE, and REVISION & SELF-EDITING FOR PUBLICATION, SECOND EDITION. Jim taught writing at Pepperdine University and at numerous writing conferences in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.



It’s hard for me to think of something to write about today — beyond what is looming directly in front of me. Self doubt.

Generally I don’t give in to much of this. In my life I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve gotten most of what I want in life — but I know that while luck has played some role, I’ve been responsible for creating the situations in which I came out on top. I think that my motto for life has always been “Things Work Out” — mostly because I make them work out or make myself find a way to accept the way that they have worked out on their own. I’m not sitting in a corner office on Madison Avenue, as I thought I might be one day, and I’m glad for it. I am not the world’s best mom…and in some ways I’m glad for that, too.

But as I edit the second draft of my first “real” attempt at a novel, I’m not sure where I stand. When you spend so much time alone with your words, it’s hard to see anymore if they’re any good. The first draft was easy because I didn’t expect much of myself. And now I’ve got this thing — this story on paper, and I have to ask myself, “is it compelling? how’s the pacing? are the characters believable, likeable, relatable?” “will anyone care about this?” “is it actually any GOOD?” The only thing I know for sure is that most of the quotation marks and periods will be in the right place since I have spent my life editing the work of others.

And then I meet other writers on Twitter who I want to see as colleagues or at least as other travelers on the same path — just maybe a bit farther along… I want to see myself as being in the same category as them. I want to think that I’m a great writer, I just haven’t put myself out there quite yet to be judged so. And I find that I’m afraid. I’m afraid that maybe I’m just pretending, maybe I think I can be a writer like Adrian Walker or E.M. Tippetts (new authors I’ve discovered recently who are kicking ass), but when I really try, the world will snort arrogantly because it sees clearly what I cannot. That I’m a dilettante (which, by the way, is the worst insult I could think to give someone like me).

I’m not looking for anyone to say, “hey, buck up little buckaroo!” I can say that to myself. I’m not looking for an established writer to say “we all have those thoughts sometimes” (though that would be nice — but I know that it’s true.) I guess I just wanted to say it. Maybe someone in the same place with their work will find some comfort in knowing that they are not alone.