Tag Archives: diymfa

When The Student Is Ready

When I started StoryADay May back in 2010, some of 100 or so people who took part really stuck with me. One was Gabriela Pereira, who had just finished up an MFA and was transitioning from student to working writer. We shared an enthusiasm both for writing and for the hair-brained scheme.

Back then, I was a couple of years ahead of her in the online, community-building, content-marketing , writing-for-pay experience. Now she has soared into the writing world as a leader, a teacher, an inspirer and, in her own words, Chief Instigator at her project:  DIY MFA.

This afternoon I tuned in to her latest webinar, sort of as a favor. I’ve heard the talk before, live and in person, and was really just showing in case no one else did. Of course, there were tons of people on the call, loads of questions from attendees, and Gabriela fired people up and sent them away with tools and techniques to make their writing better, as always.

But — it shouldn’t surprise me, but it did — what I hadn’t expected to happen was that I had a breakthrough about my own novel-in-progress, while listening to Gabriela talk. Suddenly, I knew exactly what the turning point at the mid-point of my novel needed to be. More than knowing it, I could *picture* it.

I rushed off to my office and scrawled three pages of notes, opened up Scrivener and started adding scene cards to the second half of my novel’s file. I got super excited, and then realized how much writing I had to do…then chose to see that as exciting too!

Did I mention I’ve heard this talk at least twice before?

Lesson learned: when you find a teacher/mentor/friend whose words you really connect to, stick to them. Revisit their lessons. Re-read there books. Get on webinars and conference calls with them. Ask questions. Go over and over their lessons at different stages of your development and the development of each of your projects.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears, as my old mate the Buddha apparently never said.

If you want to get in on the remaining webinars in Gabriela’s current series, here’s some info:

Perfect Your Plot, Structure Your Story – December 14

Rock Your Revisions – December 21


(Some links on this page—the webinars and the one to Scrivener—are affiliate links, but I never recommend anything I don’t believe in 100%.)

Short Story Reading List for August/Sept 2016

At the Writer’s Digest Conference this weekend I went to a talk by someone who was a ‘slush pile’ reader for various prestigious sites/awards.

I thought: that sounds like torture and probably a really good idea for someone who’s trying to inspire people to write short stories. Maybe I should do that.

So I started looking at various publications I might like to read for and realized, I don’t have a really good handle on any of their house styles. So maybe I should start reading them more seriously, before I do anything drastic. I should be reading more short stories anyway.

What I’ll Do

So I went investigating. And made, as I do, a list.

In an effort to do that, here are some stories I’m going to read in the next month or so.

How I’ll Do It

I’m going to achieve this by this method: any time I pick up my phone to go on Facebook for a random browse, I will instead, click on one of these links!

  1. The Fish Merchant, by Tobias Buckell, from Clarkesworld
  2. Word for Word, by Kate Heartfelt , from Waylines
  3. Nahiku West, by Linda Nagata, from Clarkesworld
  4. The Sentry Branch  Predictor Spec: A Fairy Tale, by John Chu, from Clarkesworld
  5. Chip’s Six Attempts at Popularity, by Jake Kerr, from Waylines
  6. The Changeling and the Sun, by   , from Ideomancer
  7. On Horizon’s Shore, by Aliette de Bodard, from OSC’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
  8. A Heretic by Degrees, by Marie Brennan, from OSC’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
  9. Vanishing, by Peter S. Beagle, from OSC’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
  10. The Thing on My Shelf, by David Gerrold, from Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine
  11. An Open Letter To The Person Who Took My Smoothie From The Break Room Fridge, by Oliver Buckram , from Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine
  12. Those Brighter Stars, by Mercurio D. Rivera, from Lightspeed Magazine
  13. War of Heroes, by Kameron Hurley, from Lightspeed Magazine
  14. Taste The Singularity At The Food Truck Circus, by Jeremiah Tolbert, from Lightspeed Magazine
  15. Asymmetrical Warfare, by S. R. Algernon, from Nature (2016 Hugo nominee)
  16. Cat Pictures, Please, by Naomi Kritzer, from Clarkesworld (2016 Hugo nominee)
  17. Left Behind, by Cat Rambo, from Clarkesworld
  18. The Bog Girl, by Karen Russell, from The New Yorker

Then What?

I’ll make notes in my reading log and share my thoughts in the Reading Room feature at StoryADay.org.