Studying with Bret Anthony Johnston

I went to the VQR Writers Conference to mix with a bunch of my fellow writers, and for a fiction workshop run by the novelist Bret Anthony Johnston.

Bret Anthony Johnston and NK Shapiro

My workshop teacher, Bret Anthony Johnston, and me.

Bret was funny, super-smart, friendly, focused on accentuating the positive in everyone’s writing.  He also taught me things (see two random notebook pages) about story structure that I’ve struggled with for years in trying to do it intuitively — not only do I feel energized by spending the week with him and other workshoppers whose work filled me with an urge to make more of my own, but I’ve come away empowered with some tools I didn’t have before.


Structure 101 was new to me.



Story structure diagrams are my new jam.

Got home on Saturday evening, and Chuffey just arrived, dropped off by his heroic dogsitter, Jason — also a fine poet.

Chuffey with Blue Elephant

Chuffey is glad to be home with Blue Elephant.