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Question
Dear Ms. Rand

As a young and aspiring author, I would be grateful to receive some of your wisdom and knowledge.

Hence the following question:

What things have your life and work taught you about the art of writing, especially based on your special interests and subject covered by your writing?

I'm open to any advice or feedback.

Thanks in advance,

Brian

PS. If you could have me read and master the contents of one book or course, what would it be?  

Answer
Dear Brian:

I could not begin to answer your question in less than 1,000 pages.

But here are a few comments. Since I was a little child I have wanted to be a writer. I went around in preschool days telling stories to anyone who would listen. When I was two or three, my father broke his back in an accident on the railroad. While laid up, he liked to read me books. On his knee I learned the power of words to make people feel.

In school I learned to spell, to form sentences, paragraphs, pages. Once I learned how, I wrote constantly. Later, I studied typing (writing is largely typing). By then I was writing books.

At the age of 40 I went back to school (college) to learn how to write well, at a school where the emphasis on written communication was paramount. I was lucky to have two brilliant writing teachers - they taught me a lot. I graduated with a BA degree in 1984. Through all those years, I read voraciously. Even now, I read 3-4 books a week - every week. The result of all this learning is that I read with a very critical eye. It is difficult for me to "get into" a book unless it is very well written.

Since then, I have worked on various writing projects, but my real love is in helping other aspiring writers get their feet under them. I have been teaching for about 15 years now, and doubt I will ever stop.

If I could have you read and master the contents of one book, it would be the King James version of the Bible. It is masterfully, wonderfully, lyrically written and probably doesn't contain a word over 4 syllables that is not someone's name. THAT is the way to write. Everything you need to learn about writing is there.

I wish you luck with your endeavors. Don't let anyone discourage you. Learn all you can and read all you can, and write about everything. One day I hope to meet you at Barnes and Noble.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my "straight 10" rating over 150+ questions.

When you have more questions, come back!  

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Susan Rand

Expertise

I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.

Experience

I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

Education/Credentials
BA degree in Written Communication

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