For the purposes of this post I’m going to break the universe of fiction workshops into three categories. First, there are helpful workshops that teach you something useful. Second, there are boring workshops where you learn little or nothing, but nothing bad happens. Third, there are dysfunctional workshops where you risk damage to your writing soul.
Careful readers will have deduced that this post is about the third category. What it’s not about, however, is legitimizing the self-centered writer — a malady considerably more prevalent in the writing universe than the dysfunctional workshop. There is a ton to learn about writing fiction, and some of the lessons you learn will be hell on you. There will be times when you will be so sure you’re right you’ll bet your life and still be flat-out wrong.
Nothing that follows excuses authorial narcissism. Fiction writing requires an author to constantly debate their own weaknesses and biases, even if only for reasons of self-preservation. Because if you can’t police your own nonsense, others will be happy to do it for you. [ Read more ]