Old Paths and The Novel Road


This month has been a blur. The kids back to school. Hurricane Isaac pretty much wiped out the last week of August which threw everything into double-up mode for an already short first week of September. And I make final preparations for upcoming workshops on ePublishing and a novel-writing series titled “The Novel Road.”‘

The Novel Road replaces its predecessor, Novel Boot Camp. Boot Camp was a great class designed by Carolyn Rose, local author, Wink/Nudge guest, and friend who taught the class for 9 years. She recruited me to take over when she decided to retire and spend more time writing and publishing her own work. Much of the material from BC was retained, though new material has been added. For example: the section on Novel journeys and structures has been expanded somewhat, owing to a thorough study of Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering and Donald Maas’ Breakout Novelist. Both books offer fresh perspectives on storytelling, especially novel-writing for publication. Even if you take my class, take the time to read these (and other) books.

The title of the Novel Road came to me as I was preparing for last Spring’s sold out ePublishing Primer. I’m not the first to make the metaphor of the writer’s journey from idea to publication as a road. Nevertheless, something about the presentation stuck and I knew I had to make the change. Still, change is hard. After ten years of Boot Camp, and the classes were going well, I wasn’t sure that there needed to be a change. It reminds me of a blog post of mine from many years ago where I talk about old paths.

Old Highway 30, The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Change is also inevitable. As Achebe‘s excellent story reminds us, it also doesn’t have to destroy or override the past. We can do more, better, and all the while continue what worked and what continues to work from the old ways. Just as my old post talks about, it’s interesting that this subject keeps coming up. You may make too much of this, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what all this means.

The Novel Road is about learning. About making mistakes. Forging ahead. staying on track while blazing new trails. It’s about letting yourself get lost in the weeds and finding your way back to the path. It’s not about what I can teach you, it’s about what you can learn.

I sincerely hope you will take a look around at Wink/Nudge and let me know what you think. If you take the class, I’d like to hear from you here as well.

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