Feeding my Writing Addiction at a Writers Workshop with James Scott Bell

I admit it, I’m addicted to writing. How do I know? I flew on the Canada Day Weekend to San Francisco to attend a 3 day Writers Work Shop with James Scott Bell..

Now here’s the other thing that let me know I’m addicted to writing, the workshop wasn’t even in San Francisco! It was in Newark, California. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t, it’s a one hour shuttle van ride from San Francisco. I think I saw a outline of San Francisco in the distance as we crossed a bridge some many miles away to get to Newark.

So, at a Marriott Courtyard Hotel, with about 35 other would be, and some published writers, I was given the best course in writing I’ve ever attended. Now, I have attended some other workshops, one day mostly, and with some accomplished writers, such as Gail Bowen, here in Canada, an accomplished Mystery writer, but with James Scott Bell there was a difference.

The difference was in the presentation. In three days, from 9AM until 4PM, there was a complete presentation of plot, structure, character, dialogue, and writers voice. I felt like I was taking a compressed University semester in one weekend. But this was even better – because James Scott Bell loves film, and he used it to demonstrate each of the subjects he taught.

Now, I confess, I am slightly ADD, that’s Attention Deficit Disorder, or as my wife says, “selective hearing, and selectively present.” James Scott Bell was able to keep my interest, my focus, and my fascination with the process of writing for three full days with his variation of film and lecture.

He showed examples of how characters interact, and how plots unfold in pictures as varied as Moonstruck, The Fugitive, Lethal Weapon, and On The Waterfront. I don’t think anyone has ever been able to put all of the elements together for me like that before. It opened my eyes to how Novelists and Screenwriters play with Plot and Structure, and keep us involved.

This workshop was put together in part by Susanne Lakin, a writer, editor and writing coach. Susanne was also a wonderful resource at the workshop. She not only ensured the workshop ran smoothly, but also gave freely of her time in the evening to discuss with writers the various ins and outs of working with publishers or going the self published route.

At the end of 3 days, what did I learn? I learned that there’s a definite process and structure to writing. Perhaps I knew some of this before, but never have I had this put into such a structured format. I am a bit of a seat of my pants writer – James Scott Bell calls that a Pantser! Okay, that’s me, sometimes I like an outline, but it’s nice to flow, and see were it takes you.

Will this workshop make me, or you a better writer? I’ve always believed that good quality education, combined with effort, makes for success. The rest is up to us – one word after another – that make the stories come to life.

You can find information on workshop I just attended at www.writingforlifeworkshopscom

I wish you all happy writing, many downloads, and great reviews.

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Lyle Nicholson is the author of four novels, two novellas and a short story, as well as several articles published in Canadian Magazines and Newspapers. His path to his writing was first as a terrible actor in a Johnny Cash movie, called Gospel Road. He played Andrew the Apostle and apologizes to all who see him in the movie. He was also a disobedient monk for several years and left the monastery to work at several jobs he'd was highly unsuccessful at until he started his own sales agency, where he finally had success. This was to the delight of his wife and his mother. He retired in 2011 and took up writing full time. He now lives with his lovely wife in Kelowna, where he writes, cooks and indulges in fine wines.