Writing Academy, Memoirs, Novels, Short Stories, Book Proposals

New York City Writing Coach

Gay Walley

just a little direction and everything changes

I just met with a student this afternoon who when he first came to me was writing in a formal, back story, static way. I had trouble following and was confused at the characters since none of them spoke or moved. I began my little speech about creating scenes where the characters speak up for themselves, where the author takes a bit of a backseat to the story, and so on.
Off he went and I wasn’t sure I’d see him again. I know how dispiriting it is when someone reads your work and does not say, “Great.” Doubts set in and sometimes inertia.
We had an appointment two weeks later, and I had no idea what to expect. Turn up he did, with the pages, and Bam! he had re-started his novel, using what he had formally as a blue print for the plot, but now was creating scenes with weather, feeling, movement in his characters and dialogue. Oh…and he was enjoying himself, freed. He continues coming and each time, the story is better. It was just a nudge I gave him, and now his book sails along. It’s true for all of us. One just turns the key a little bit to making the work get better. It’s usually simple. And that simple change sets the work on fire.