How do you write? How do you teach someone to write. For some people writing is as natural as breathing and requires as much learning as that. Did you learn how to breathe? No, you just did it. Did I learn how to write? No. I just did it. After a lifetime of reading, I sat down one day and wrote a story.
And then I realized that I didn’t have the foggiest idea what I was doing. Only after I had finished the book did I begin to realize how much I didn’t know about writing.
I think I learned how to write in the same way I learned how to parent. I just did it. It never occurred to me that a child of 18 months shouldn’t be able to read and do simple arithmetic, so I expected them to do it. I showed them how and they caught on. Both of my kids were reading and doing addition and subtraction by the time they hit their third birthday because I didn’t know that they shouldn’t be able to do that.
I teach writing in very much the same way. I expect that my students will just get it – and you know what? Almost all of them do.
Yes. Some come into the class in the same place I was after I finished writing my first book, thinking that I generally knew what I was doing but needing just a little help, a little guidance. They sit in my class with their arms folded across their chest, daring me to teach them something they don’t already know. And then, usually within ten to fifteen minutes, they’re grabbing for their pen and scribbling furiously in their notebook.
I love that. It means I am telling them something they didn’t know. Or maybe I’m just explaining to them, in more coherent manner, what they did know and have been doing on an intuitive level. That’s fine. As long as they’re listening and thinking, that’s all I care about. Then it’s up to them to go home and do it, and I fully expect them to be able to do so.
I love to teach writing. My course starts out with the big, broader subjects (characters, GMC, world building, story structure) and then moves onto narrower subjects of the craft of writing (POV, dialogue, show and tell, and finally editing). And all along the way I bring my students a deeper meaning, a deeper understanding to this thing that they do that’s as easy as breathing.
Meredith, thank you for visiting with us! I remember feeling like your students
Meredith teaches fiction writing and another course on how to get published at Frederick Community College in Frederick, MD. She has published four Regency romances (back when they were published by mainstream publishers like Kensington and Signet) and she is always writing something fun and paranormal.