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American Book Review series kicks off with creative writing guru

APRILL BRANDON

By APRILL BRANDON
Aug. 30, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.


As the fifth year for the American Book Review reading series gets under way, prolific author and creative writing guru John Dufresne will kick things off Thursday with a talk about how he got into writing.

Dufresne, who also teaches the Master of Fine Arts program at Florida International University in Miami, is the author of many books, including the short story collection "The Way That Water Enters Stone" and novels "Louisiana Power & Light," "Love Warps the Mind a Little" and "Requiem, Mass." He's also written two writers' guides: "The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction" and "Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months."

"Writing is something I was always good at. As a kid, I couldn't do much else," DuFresne said. "I started out as a social worker, but I think I became a writer because I was an avid reader. I always kept writing and kept working toward my career. I wrote about the world I was living in and decided I would be happier writing than I was at my current job."

Although he's happier, he's also much busier, he added. Although teaching writing is a good job if your writer, it does take time away from his own work.

"Sometimes I think 'man, I could be writing right now.' But I have two jobs and I have to do both. And I love doing both," he said. "To make time, I just don't watch as much TV and avoid parties."

As for what advice Dufresne would give other aspiring writers, the key is simple.

"You need to write continuously every day. Write until your fingers bleed," he said. "And read all the time. Always be reading and writing and learn to finish what you start."

Once you do finish, then it's all about revision, he added.

"There are 1,000 steps to getting a story done. You just have to keep at it," he said.

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