East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The Karavansara Free Writing Course

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writing-course-iconThis is a writing course.
It is free, and offered to all those that would like to learn how to write stories.
Write stories, mind you, not be a writer.
If you feel like this course is not a waste of time, you can buy me a coffee.
But that’s for you to decide. This course was designed to be free, because you can’t sell a writing course that works, and this one does.

The core of the course is based on a piece of wisdom I got yesterday from my friend Mauro, that is a fine writer and game designer in his own right. I added a little fluff here and there, and stole a line from Ray Bradbury and one from C.J. Cherryh.
I might update this course in the future, and maybe even an Italian version, but for the moment, here’s what you need to know:

Start reading when you are a six years old.
Read a book a week, any subject, any genre. All subjects, all genres.
Read wide, don’t stick to just one genre.
Read the classics. Any classic. Read a lot of them.
Start writing by copying a few pages from your favorite book, by hand.
Go on writing.
Finish what you start.
When you get stuck or find yourself swamped in doubt, go back to your favorite book and copy a few pages by hand.
Get around, meet people, talk with people, see the sights, listen to the music.
Keep your eyes and ears open.
Listen to people chatting on the bus or in the supermarket line.
Keep reading, keep writing. Edit what you wrote to make it better.
Ignore the siren calls of perfection and originality.
Don’t bother with what the rules of writing are, ask yourself what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re not sure what works and what doesn’t, get your favorite book and copy a few pages by hand, and pay attention at what you’re writing.
The first forty stories you write or so will suck, but it will get better.
Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row. — Ray Bradbury.
Learn to edit your work.
It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly. — C. J. Cherryh

The course will take about fifteen years to complete, unless you try really hard, in which care it might take twenty.

Good luck.

You can download a PDF version of The Karavansara Free Writing Course.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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