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Beginning writers are welcome in my class whatever the level. One of the joys in my life is discovering a writer who has long wanted to write, who commits and–at last!–produces copy. However, beginning students should be aware of the differences between themselves and advanced student-writers.

Novice writers learn to develop characters and invent a plot. They learn to create a situation statement/story concept. Beginners write descriptions of characters and the story problem or conflict. They can describe how their story ends. Most attempt a scene or two. They get something on paper. This is what I expect from you by the end of this class.


Advanced writers produce copy. They have created their characters and are learning how to reveal those characters. They understand point of view (POV) and are writing by implication. They show, they dramatize, they illustrate and demonstrate, while telling very little. They tackle structure: When to tell what. Most have complete or nearly complete manuscripts, edited through several revisions. Others have finished novels, perhaps several. Advanced writers recognize fantasies for what they are–pleasant reveries of being a writer (having written), dreams of riches and the glamorous life they imagine published writers lead. Yet they face reality. Writing is drudgery interspersed with illuminating moments of great joy.

Writing is dealing with everyday problems in their personal and business lives, plus making time to write. Professional writers constantly split themselves into different, often diverse roles, fitting themselves into all the niches needed by others in their demanding lives. An advanced writer wears several hats, good practice for the time they become professionals. Real lives–home, family, jobs–come first, and yet, their writer’s brains are demanding equal time. Producing, practiced writers take care of business and also face the labors of creation, of art. They begin to learn the business of writing, looking toward the time when they are published and dealing with agents, editors, contracts and book signings.

Advanced writers have accepted their identities as writers. No mere wannabes, they deliberately set out to learn the craft of writing. They take lessons, welcome constructive criticism, attend workshops, read and revise. All this as they struggle to produce a workable, fine-tuned manuscript.

Beginners: Don’t be intimidated. Every advanced student, every published writer, stood in your shoes at one time. They understand, or should. They remember when.

 Advanced writers: Help the beginners; mentor them as you’ve been and continue to be mentored. We are all learners here. Producing writers are doers. Writers write. Wannabes moan and groan and procrastinate. Worthy beginners are not mere wannabes. They are tomorrow’s advanced (and published) writers. Let’s do it–let’s write! #

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