I have been a professional freelance writer for 30+ years. During that time I have had to hold down "real" jobs so that I could indulge myself in my life's blood; creating stories and people. I have to write. It is in my blood and I find myself "writing" in my mind even when I don't have access to my laptop or a pad and paper. Writer's are not taught; they are born.
Millions of people aspire to be writers. I have heard many people say "I could write a better story/book than that". It seems easy but it really isn't. Not everyone can put things down on paper that will make someone else feel like he/she is right there. All of the journalism schools in the world can't make a great writer. A school can give the writer the tools needed to create. A school can tell the writer how to go about putting the words on paper. A school can teach about sentence structure, adjectives, adverbs, and paragraphs. Being an authority on grammar doesn't make a person a good writer.
Creative writing courses are taught at most colleges. They are designed to show a person who desires to be a writer how to create a story. There are classes devoted to writing mysteries,love stories, non-fiction, mainstream, westerns, sci-fi and much more. Each genre is totally different from the others. There are companies who publish the genre fiction who actually use "formula" writing. They ask that the writer include a certain number of characters of a certain type. The topic of the book is often dictated to the author, also. In genre writing there are a number of rules that must be followed or the publishing company will not consider the book for the line. For instance, the "cozy" is a type of mystery novel that involves a "homebody", an animal, and a small town. The blood and gore of a horror novel is totally out of place in a cozy and would not be acceptable in one. Genre's also go through periods of "category" changes. For a period of time, the publisher may accept books with a story line that includes "the hidden child". After several months, the focus may change to "the return of an old love". Hidden children as a subject will just disappear for a period of time. Genre writing seems simplistic but when a writer has to write his or her book totally by the direction of the publisher, some of the creativity is removed. Although the writer can still use his/her minagination to come up with the storyline and the plot turns, the publishing company has dictated the direction in which the story must go as well as the basic outcome.
Most good writers do not sit down with a list to write. Many times, a writer has no idea what he/she is going to write about. My own stories are written down as they happen, in real time, in my head. I may have the story going and think I know where it is going and, all of a sudden, my characters go an entirely different direction all on their own. If a writer does not listen to the characters in his/her head, the story will not have the feeling to the reader that it will have if the writer has followed his/her character's voices. Ernest Hemingway was one such writer. He listened to the characters in his head and, so, each reader since has been able to experience everything the character did and said. This is the mark of a great writer. It can't be taught at Colombia or a state supported school. Good writers are born.
By opening my writier's retreat I hope that I will be able to assist other writers in their quest to be the best they can be. I want to provide a place where writer's can bloom.
We built our family homw in 1974 on a tiny little island off the coast of North Carolina. Oak Island (as it is now known) is 30 miles south of Wilmington, NC. It is 70 miles east of Myrtle Beach, SC. There are other small towns nearby including Southport, one of the first settlements in the new world. There are over 200 golf courses near our island. Withing a few miles are two hospitals; one is new. There is a ferry from Southport to Ft. Fisher that takes the driver to the NC Aquarium and to the fortifications from a Civil War fort that defended the Cape Fear area. It's a short drive to Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach and lots of other places.
Oak Island is 11 miles from one end to the other. My house is centrally located between the ocean strand and the Inland Waterway. It's a family beach without the high rises and humongus crowds. The beaches are clean. You can park at each street end or at the center of the strand where the cabanas, rest rooms, life guards and rentals are. I'm getting excited.