Okay. I confess. I am a lifelong learner. I am fascinated when I learn new things and when I polish old skills or not-so-old skills. I am constantly working to improve myself and my world, throughout every season of the year. Each season brings joy, more writing, and more learning into my life.
Both reading and creative writing exercise all the different parts of the brain. Most anything creative helps us preserve the cognitive functions we have. And I know we all want that. I certainly do. Besides, it is probably the most consistent exercise I do, as opposed to physical activity, which I most certainly should be doing but many days miss.
Not only that, but both reading for enjoyment and for learning, plus putting words through the hands, either at a keyboard or a pen on paper, helps grow new neural pathways and connections that keep us sharp and help us maintain our mental faculties far into the future. I am neither a psychologist nor a scientist, but I have read enough articles and books to know that “the science” supports this.
Crafting stories stimulates the brain
One of the classes that I have taken each year for the last four years is the twelve-month-long Fiction Fluency seminars taught by Eric Witchey and offered online via Zoom in coordination with Wordcrafters in Eugene. Fiction Fluency is high-level craft instruction without the time requirement and financial commitment of a degree program. The expert who teaches it, Eric Witchey, has written tales under several names and in thirteen genres. He has had over 170 stories and five novels accepted, a number of which have been translated into multiple languages. He has taught at close to 300 conferences, won awards in the United States and abroad, and had his How-to articles published by Writer’s Digest Magazine, The Writing Magazine, and others. He has presented variants of his Fiction Fluency material for organizations from the island of Crete to San Francisco and from Seattle to Lake Chapala, Mexico.
In short, he truly is an expert who teaches the craft of writing fiction so that it becomes intuitive, much like speaking a second language. Our subconscious learning enables us to become fluent in words, allowing them to flow through our hands at speed. His classes provide us with the tools we need to proof and polish our writing into a finished work as well. Here is the master instructor explaining Fiction Fluency in his own words on You Tube. You can also find this video on Eric Witchey’s home page of his website.
It is challenging, exhilarating, and fun. In the You Tube, you can get a taste of Eric’s goals, beliefs, and way of speaking. It is easy to relate to his style. Each year the subject matter, while based on the same concepts, is presented in a little different manner with additional examples and exercises we work through and brainstorm together.
The Fiction Fluency program breakdown of sessions
His Fiction Fluency offering through Wordcrafters is currently broken into two segments: the first three months of fundamentals and the last nine months mastery session. The second mastery session full schedule and curriculum starts this year on December 2, 2023. It happens once a month, for four hours on Saturday afternoon and four hours on Sunday morning via Zoom.
If you are interested, even if you would be late starting, I would encourage you to contact the Executive Director of Wordcrafters, Daryll Lynne Evans. If you do take the class, please sign up and join Wordcrafters first, as your membership will net you a ten percent discount on the course.
Eric’s one rule, above all, is: “Affect the reader’s emotions.”
My website and my stories
I am a member of Windtree Press and you can find me there under the page Our Authors. I have stories now and one poem in two of the Windtree Press annual anthologies. I am also available at your favorite ebook retailer. To learn more about me and sign up for my occasional newsletter look for my website, https://darilaroche.com.
Let’s all begin the New Year with a goal of, as Eric Witchey says, “writing stories that change the world.”