Mastery

by Christine Walker

We’re all experts, all learners. We can improve our writing by reading closely the work of masterful authors and asking, “How did they do that…?”

My writing classes and writing consulting are designed for writers who read, readers who write, and book lovers who want to read like a writer. The courses teach mastery of fiction craft. Learning fiction craft from accomplished authors benefits writers working on novels, short stories, nonfiction, memoir, and children’s books, as well as business and professional writing. The meanings of “mastery” are: “1.Possession of consummate skill. 3. Full command of a subject of study.” (American Heritage). The dictionary’s definition #2 doesn’t apply: “The status of master or ruler.”  

I was first inspired to develop writing courses to offer at my local independent bookstore, Copperfield’s Books, after participation in a town economic summit in the fall of 2009 which challenged: “What can each of you do to stimulate the local economy?” The question fused with thoughts about the publishing climate, readership, and writing in general. “Who is reading books? What is our responsibility as writers to encourage vital engagement in literature? What is our relationship to industries that serve writing and reading interests? How is a culture shaped by its literature? What is the reach of literary activism? How do writers and readers create community? How do we rise to the next level of mastery, no matter what our education and experience as writers and readers?”

Course structure and visual prompts

The graphics below represent elements of my Master Craft Juggling structure that underpins all the courses I teach. Follow the links for further description. The 9-month Read to Write Books course investigates each element in depth. Short courses and workshops, such as First Person:Memoir, Prizewinners, Revision, Hands-On, and Right Night to Write incorporate the elements in various amounts depending upon the focus.

Master Craft Juggling

Master Fiction Craft Juggling

A graphic depiction of nine elements of fiction craft mastery

Writers & Books & Readers

Writers Books Readers Triangular Relationships

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