Suggested Books (NOT Required for Class)
— The New York Times
The 3 A.M. Epiphany offers more than 200 intriguing writing exercises designed to help you think, write, and revise like never before - without having to wait for creative inspiration. Brian Kiteley, noted author and director of the University of Denver's creative writing program, has crafted and refined these exercises through 15 years of teaching experience.
“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison
Elizabeth's Favorite Rules
1. Rip off your heroes. Until you're fairly well-read and already writing capable fiction, it's absurd (and ego-maniacal, anti-intellectual, and doomed, if also entirely understandable) to worry about "developing your own voice" or, worse, "being original." All great jazz musicians went through a derivative stage; until you do that (as a writer, that is), you may luck out and be an idiot savant, but you have no hope of becoming a distinct talent.
2. Read every good book that's ever been written. Learn the tradition; respect the tradition. Eventually, overthrow the tradition. Remake the tradition. Emend the tradition. By God, become the tradition.
3. "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." — Samuel Beckett
4. Kill no characters, at least until you've written five finished stories.
5. Avoid freshman-comp topics (abortion, euthanasia, suicide, etc.) or disease-based movie-of-the-week ideas, at least until you've written five finished stories.
6.Stories that begin with a character waking up are likely to suck.
7. Avoid "flashbacks;" be wary of breaches in chronology. The reader needs exponentially less background info than you think. Strive to provide that info not via flashback but in the present of your story.
8.In any great story, everybody's right. At minimum, no one's one-dimensionally wrong.
9.Make your stories news. Fiction is only about trouble, the jagged line segment within what might be an otherwise straight line.
10. Learn to read like a writer.