The Basics of Writing Well

In the Basics of Writing Well workshop coming up Saturday, June 9th, you will learn so many easy-to-accomplish tricks and tips to take your writing to the next level.

I’ve taught memoir writing for twenty years now, edited the work of hundreds of authors, and pulled together the most common ways writers dilute their work for this class. But don’t worry, I won’t stop there. I’ll teach you many simple adjustments to dramatically improve your text.

For example, consider how you begin your stories, chapters, even paragraphs. Read my paraphrase of author Jeannette Wall’s opening to her powerful memoir, The Glass Castle.

As I prepared for the evening, I debated my choices. Should I dress up and make a show or tone it down and blend in. I finally decided to wear a long black dress, simple but elegant, and my dangling, diamond earrings for a bit of glitz. One last look in the mirror, and off I went to catch a cab and head downtown to the awards reception. 

I sat in the backseat of the cab, still unsure if I was too dressed for the evening. When we stopped at a traffic light a few blocks from my destination, I looked out the side window and saw a homeless woman rooting through a Dumpster. This was not an unusual sight for New York City; homeless people routinely sifted through trash for food, slept on grates to stay warm, and begged for change on street corners. I looked at the woman’s dirty face and ragged clothes—Mom.

Now, let’s look at Wall’s rendition of that moment.

I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster.

Big difference, huh? Sometimes, less is definitely more. Start with the most important part and don’t bury the hook, the thing that makes a reader sit up and take notice.

Join me Saturday, June 9th for the Basics of Writing Well and learn more tips like this one to place in your writer’s toolbox.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x