who wants to work through a book of low-pressure writing exercises with me as part of a group discussion/critique/etc thing during september/october/november? (the correct answer is "me me me" because i'm great and all y'all should want to write with me)tl:
have you ever wanted personally-tailored writing advice from a literary great like, oh, ursula k le guin? well, now you can!
she's accepting questions of <200 words over at that blog.
and, relatedly, she is apparently publishing a revised edition of Steering the Craft
on september 1st.steering the craft
is probably the most useful book of "writing advice" i've ever encountered. it is not
writing advice in the "seven steps to outline your novel!!!" sense or "how to make time in your day for writing!!!" sense; nor is it mere writing prompts in the "write about some cherished childhood memory" sense or "write about clouds" sense. instead, it gives ~10 very solid, discrete exercises, each of which are meant to help you exercise some very specific aspect of the craft
of writing. for instance, the opening exercise talks about paying attention to the sound
of your writing; a later exercise explores sentence length (short, long, everything in-between, and the effects of each type of sentence on the reader); there's a big focus on point-of-view later in the book, and so on.
some of these exercises are so endlessly useful that i come back to them when i'm having writer's block, or when i'm just bored and want to write something, or whatever. others are more involved, and thus repeated less frequently, but still yield useful insights.
anyway. while i worked through the book for the first time all by myself (back when i was a wee middle schooler), the book includes suggestions for doing the exercises in a group setting (prompts for discussion, advice on how to organize such a thing, etc), and i figure this re-release is a perfect excuse for me to work through the book again, except this time with internet friends!
let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in such a thing; depending on interest i can set up a private** dw group or a mailing list or a set of bottles to be thrown into the ocean or whatever. (and i really hope you, yes you, are in fact interested, because there are so many lovely writers on my flist and i think it'd be really great to see more of y'all's writing in a workshoppy for-funsies writing-exercises-y setting :3 )
(for those wondering about time commitment—i'm too lazy to grab my copy of the book off the shelf right now, but, iirc, there's about 10 chapters in the book, and the suggestion is to work through one chapter each week. each chapter's short enough to be read in under an hour, and the related exercises generally take 30 minutes to 2 hours. so, 2.5 months of 1.5-3 hours a week (plus time for group discussion or whatever). not bad at all!)
so yeah. hope some of y'all wanna join this party :D* the other books are, in no particular order: kleinberg's algorithm design, the sibley guide to birds, the last unicorn, the farthest shore, spring snow, a king james edition of the bible, and i thiiink that about covers it... twain is on project gutenberg and i was moving rather a lot for a while so i tend to leave his books in my parents' house; if they weren't on gutenberg i'd be hauling some of his stuff around too** haven't decided on the exact format of the group yet, and it'll depend on how much interest there is, but it will definitely be restricted to just the members of the group. public writing forums are scary.