Saturday, February 24, 2024

Back in the Learner's Seat

I've been at this writing game for awhile. My debut novel was published in 2006. Since then I've had several more novels and numerous short stories come out, plus I've done time as a creative writing instructor. However, after the pandemic, I felt unplugged from the writing community and to boost my connections, I recently attended Superstars 2024, about which I wrote some in last month's post. The experience proved more fruitful than I anticipated, delivering valuable advice about promoting and marketing yourself as a writer, specifically tips on newsletters and running a successful Kickstarter campaign. There were also great panels focusing on lessons learned, or more aptly said, "Things I wish I would've known at the beginning of my writing career."

My favorite class was "Finding The Perfect Story Structure" taught by Kevin Ickenberry. This is a subject I've presented in MFA programs and so on this, consider myself as more knowledgeable than the typical lay person. Even so, I was amazed by how much I learned. Ickenberry led us through a history of story structure from Aristotle to the present, character dynamics, archetypes, and modern interpretations about story such "Save The Cat." He also introduced me to The Heroine's Journey, a different take on narrative and structure that focuses on community dynamics rather than the solitary quest as in The Hero's Journey. That discussion helped me better understand the relationships and motives within a criminal gang in my current WIP. 

A much published and respected author, Kevin Ickenberry retired from the military, having started as an Armor officer (aka a treadhead) and ended his career in the Space Force. He writes fantasy, alternative history, and (big surprise) military science fiction. At this last Superstars, he was honored for his service to the organization, having served as a volunteer extraordinaire, mostly as Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta's chief of staff who made sure things got done and got done right.

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