What is the most important subject for writers?

We all see scores of writing blogs each week.

They deal with an entire spectrum of issues from punctuation to KDP to editing to book cover design to book promotion.

All of these topics are important, and each strikes a responsive chord for a writer on her journey.

That’s really the thing.

An experienced writer may want to learn about the most recent avenue for promoting her books.  A newbie may want to read about the basic structure of a novel.  Someone somewhere else on the spectrum may want to read about other authors’ position on finding an editor or cover artist.

So, the question of the day is what issue predominates over and over again?  The one that is a perennial concern for writers regardless of their level of experience?



Is there such a topic, or does everything depend on where the author finds herself at a particular moment on the writer’s journey?

For instance, the last couple of weeks I have become enthralled with screenwriting.

I went so far as to order and download Final Draft 9, the latest version of the screenwriting industry standard software. I bought the app for my iPad and the full meal deal for the computers where I do most of my writing.


I spoke to my daughter, who is studying creative writing for entertainment, before I made the purchases.

I went on YouTube and listened to some gurus explain how to write screenplays.

I talked to Caleb Pirtle who has written a number of screenplays and had them actually produced as movies.

Then I stopped and thought about my predicament.

I find myself with less and less time to write, while I continue to expand the sort of works I want to write.

If I can’t finish the novel I am working on why would I want to begin working on the skills necessary to produce screenplays?

Because writing is writing, I guess.

If writing is about story-telling, I want to learn how to tell stories in every medium I can.

Which circles me back to the initial question.

What is the most important subject for writers to study?

It all comes down to the art of story-telling.

Which begs the question yet again.

What is the best way to learn to tell stories?

“Tell them as many ways as you can to as many audiences as you can,” you say.


That’s what I thought.

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  • I think the only question that ultimately matters is finding readers for what you have written: how to find them and persuade them your book is worth their very precious time.

    I have eight or ten books of screenwriting (and Shooting to Kill for creating indie films); a similar number of books on playwriting (from when I wrote my first full-length play). How-to books are a good way to see if you’re really interested: I have several books on comedy writing – and I know now I will never be a standup comedian (Hint: it’s not fear of bombing in public, but having discovered that, though wit creeps up every once in a while, I’m basically not funny).

    The choice is going to come down to what I enjoy writing most, because the number of things I could tackle is very large – but I’m the one who’s going to be spending years of my life with whatever I choose. Readers get to do the equivalent of a drive-by shooting: zip in, get the story, get out. I know, because I used to only read.

  • Caleb Pirtle

    Stephen, there are so many ways to tell a story. We have such little time to tell one or two. The danger writers face is trying to write in too many mediums and once and winding up with a lot of half-finished manuscripts. We can’t finish one for starting on another. The more I think about what you have written, I believe we should probably choose one way to tell a story, then work hard to tell it well.

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