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Teach Yourself Creative Writing

12-10-2010 05:13 PM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Michael LaRocca

Writer, Teach Thyself

You don't need a teacher to learn how to write

Either you're creative or you're not.

From that premise, award-winning author Michael LaRocca taught thousands of university students the topic known as Creative Writing.

That has to make a person wonder. LaRocca explains it like this:

"The craft of writing can be studied and learned. Every writer should study it. But that innate creativity is something you're born with. Creation remains mystical, but craft is learned and honed by many hours of hard work."

LaRocca started writing 40 years ago, creating his own comic books and telling them to neighborhood kids. Ten years later, his first short story won second prize at the National Honor Society's 1981 Florida convention and led to his inclusion in the 1982 Who's Who In American Writing. Then he spent almost 20 years "off the radar."

"Practice," he explains, "is the only way to improve as a writer. Write constantly. Write thousands of words for years and years knowing it's okay if most of them suck. Mine sure did.

"To distill what you think, feel and believe from all the trash floating around in your head, and then to actually put that on paper the way you mean to put it, is a skill that only comes from years of practice. They don't teach it in any school I've ever been in. I struggled at this for 20 years or so after I graduated from college. That's how I learned to write. Not in a classroom."

LaRocca explains that it's not enough to study, learn and memorize rules. You must internalize them, so they're in the background, unnoticed but still there, while the author creates.

"Well, actually," he adds, "there's another step after that. Break rules. But do it deliberately, not out of ignorance. In the process of all this work, you'll find your own unique writing voice. Without that, there's really no point in writing at all."

Michael LaRocca taught Creative Writing to literally thousands of university students, in classrooms, using these ideas. Using the same ideas and lessons, he taught American, British, and Canadian authors how to improve their writing by email. "But now," he explains, "I'm just too darned busy."

However, just as an author hates to throw away his old manuscripts, LaRocca isn't throwing away his old lesson plans. They're at

- END -

Michael has written 8 published novels and edited more than 300 published novels.

Michael LaRocca
27 Huynh Thuc Khang
Ba Dinh

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