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Go beyond craft to find the heart…and art of your story

When I first decided to venture from writing poetry to prose, I read a lot of how-to craft books and took a few writing courses. Eventually, I decided I wanted a more focused approach so I enrolled in a low-residency MFA program through Goddard College.

You don’t need an MFA or any kind of degree, of course, to be a writer, but it was perfect for me. It allowed me the time I needed to focus on craft, and it forced me to read widely. This is what I’m thankful for most, I think, is the opportunity to read and learn how to analyze other writers’ work. I read works from authors whom I never would have otherwise read.

A fellow student, John Schimmel, who now teaches screenwriting at the UCR Palm Desert Low Residency program, wrote a bit about his experience in the program here. He writes about his experience of listening to a Goddard faculty member read his work:

My first night in an MFA program and I had an entirely new notion of what it means to be a writer – and of what had driven me to seek a break from reading too many mediocre scripts, “mediocre” being defined as scripts written by writers who had not even understood that courage was necessary, who had not even known that they needed to search for and then realize the expression of the heart of their stories.

What he writes rings true for me–the importance of finding the heart of our stories. But how do we access that place of truth within us where art comes from?

For ideas, read Carly’s post Write from your white-hot center and my post Write from the heart to capture your reader’s heart.

How do you find the heart of your stories?

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