Let’s talk about process. Let’s pull up the shades and let some air in and console those of you who, like me, have no idea how to do this, because you grew up in a very uptight family, where people kept stiff upper lips and sat in duck blinds for whole days at a time, freezing and taking tiny sips from a flask while they waited to shoot a Canada Goose right out of a hard blue autumn sky. In that world, either the ability to write happened to you by accident– maybe you were bi-polar, or alcoholic, or one of your parents was a painter or a composer or even a writer, so you kind of osmotically got it, or you were, like Stephen King, a natural. If your answer is none of the above, you didn’t get the skills. And then, when you finally asked your teacher in grad school how to become a writer, he said the ability to write is a gift. If you don’t have it, nobody can help you.

Part of my mission in life is to refute that assumption. Anybody can learn this art of making a story, the same way anyone can learn grammar, or running, or jump shots. There’s no right way, or one way, but there are lots of tried and true habits that can help. Including: you must read, and watch movies, and harvest the best parts– the aha moments when you think, wow, I never saw that coming, when the book reverses itself, and you realize that every single character is actually a ghost.