What is your favorite writing craft book?
The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke
Which do you think is the most underrated writing craft book? Why?
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
What is your favorite (or most anticipated) writers conference?
The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
What’s your favorite other source (YouTube, podcast, etc.) for writing tips/info?
‘Your Best Writing Life Podcast’ with Linda Goldfarb
Who is your writing mentor/inspiration? Why?
Bob Slosser – a New York Times reporter and editor, he moved to Virginia Beach to help build CBN News. He served as President of Regent University in its early years. He was a multi-published author, including his books Child of Satan, Child of God (the story of Manson Family member, Susan Atkins), The Miracle of Jimmy Carter, Reagan Inside Out, Changing the Way America Thinks, and The Secret Kingdom (with Pat Robertson).
Cec Murphey – a mentor to many, Cec has provided encouragement and guidance over the years. He is also a multi-published author, including his works Unleash the Writer Within, Ghostwriting: The Murphey Method, 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper), and Gifted Hands (with Dr. Ben Carson).
History and Biography – Ron Chernow, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ronald C. White, Eric Metaxas, Elie Wiesel, Shelby Foote
Narrative Nonfiction – Truman Capote, Laura Hillenbrand, Stephen E. Ambrose
Fantasy – C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien
Novels – Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Harper Lee, James A. Michener
Devotional Writing – Ken Gire, David Teems
What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? Why was it bad?
Beginning writers have heard a seminar speaker or professor utter the familiar line, “Write what you know.” The quote is often attributed to Mark Twain. But is it wise? Is it true? Writers have many opinions on the question.
Hemmingway agreed with Twain. The great Nora Roberts did not. “You don’t write what you know,” Roberts insisted, “or you would write one thing. I never understood that. You write what you want to find out.” I like what short story writer and novelist Eudora Welty said: “Write about what you don’t know about what you know.”
My take is that you mine your story ideas from what you know, or what you have learned in your endless pursuit of knowledge. In the process, you quickly realize how much you don’t know about the subject. If you’re going to write an excellent piece, you must take the deep dive to learn what you don’t know, and as Welty observes, write about that.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Since journalism school, I have carried a notebook with me to make observations, following the advice of my writing professor and mentor, Bob Slosser. In the early days, it was a small, spiral bound paper notebook that fit into my shirt pocket. Today, it’s a series of digital files in my smart phone. Whatever form it takes, a writer should have a place where she or he is keeping notes of what is observed as life goes by.
The writer’s notebook also serves as a repository for creative thought. Every so often, an interesting or charming thought or phrase will cross my mind. Sometimes it’s connected to one of my front burner projects. Other times it could be a phrase for a back burner—or even a back, back burner project. Sometimes it may just be a curious or creative phrase looking for a project to enhance. It’s imperative for the writer to capture these thoughts and add them to their organized notebook.
What would you say is the best writing tip for new authors?
Decide that you want to make the sacrifices needed to be a serious writer – and be specific in how you will structure your schedule.
What is your best self-editing tip or advice?
Let your drafts sit while your mind re-sets. Then rewrite and rewrite again.
Please share your most encouraging tip for frustrated/discouraged writers.
A vitally important part of prewriting is giving yourself room to dream of what your book could be. The dreaming process then leads to outlining and plotting. I am convinced the dreaming process in large measure separates good from great writers. Good writers go through the mechanics of outlining, plotting, and scene preparation. Great writers do all of those things, but first they unleash their imaginations to dream of what their book could be—and then they take notes to capture those thoughts.
Your conscious of the amazing creative capabilities of your subconscious brain. On the other hand, it is a priming of the pump for the release of your creativity. Feeding your mind with its own creativity helps to transfer that power from the subconscious to the conscious. It’s the same for all artists. While mastering the craft, grammar, and structure of writing, we must never forget the joy of dreaming and the ecstasy of creative expression.
Tell us about your newest release/upcoming release.
Telling the Truth: How to Write Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir
In this new book, I explore emerging research to help the writer understand the power of story – and then harness this knowledge in the writing of dynamic narrative nonfiction and memoir.
I have also recently finished a semi-autobiographical baseball movie screenplay based on the year I turned from 12 to 13 – from a child to a teenager. It is a coming-of-age, sports/baseball, father-and-son conflict film with humor, an innocent romance, a dark night of the soul, and ultimate redemption.
I’m working with my cinematographer son in adapting my biography, Victor! The Final Battle of Ulysses S. Grant into a video project – more information to come!
From webcasts to television and radio, and from conferences and churches to boardrooms, Dr. Craig von Buseck has been in the public eye for more than 35 years. As a sought-after keynote speaker, he has taken the stage across America and overseas. Craig is an award-winning, multi-published author and has served as a Digital Content Director and Editor for FocusontheFamily.com, Inpiration.org, and CBN.com. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Journalism from Regent University.
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