Michael LaRocca’s Book Covers

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Teach Yourself Creative Writing

Teach Yourself Creative Writing by Michael LaRoccaThe first sentence in Teach Yourself Creative Writing is this one:

The only way to improve your writing is to write.

That’s exactly correct. What I’ve accumulated here are lesson plans that have worked for me, for years, with hundreds of students of various levels in several countries.

If you’re a teacher, these can help you with your own lesson plans.

If you’re an author, you can treat it like a workbook and, precisely as the title states, teach yourself creative writing.

You know what? I want to quote the first three paragraphs. Let’s start again.

The only way to improve your writing is to write. If you’re serious about improving your writing, you’ll write every day. Some authors schedule certain hours, others schedule start times and word counts, some just fit it in any old way. You can write in a journal with pen and paper, you can blog, or you can open up a Word document every day and work on your novel.

Just write.

I am not a bucket of water (knowledge) and you are not an empty cup. Instead, think of me as a cold heartless coach who won’t let you get off the treadmill no matter how much your muscles ache. Assuming we don’t kill you, your writing will improve through practice.

Did I write this seven years ago? Eight? I just reread it, and it’s fantastic. Sharp, short, perceptive, and even humorous in a goofy teacher way. I should’ve read this when I was struggling with The Last Titan, not for the writing exercises, but just for the advice.

There’s not a thing in the world wrong with the 99 cent Kindle version, which is what I just read, but if you’re going to use it in the classroom, get the paperback.

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Sandlot, a football novel by Michael LaRocca

Sandlot by Michael LaRocca

Sandlot is a novel about a guy returning to Burgaw, North Carolina, after 12 years in China and, eventually, starting his own football team. I wrote it after I returned to Burgaw, North Carolina after 12 years in Asia, most of which I spent in China. … [Continue reading]

Make A Difference – From Being Successful to Being Significant

Motivational Press is the leading mid-tier publisher of business, leadership, health & wellness, and personal growth books internationally. On September 6 they published Make A Difference: From Being Successful to Being Significant by Ron … [Continue reading]

Reflections from the Grave (a poem from 1984)

To carry a dead brain in a body that survives With my head always bent from the weight While others feed me and empty my bedpan– Give me the strength to pull the trigger.   To lie in a hospital bed with machinery Pumping my … [Continue reading]

How Red Is My Neck?

How Red Is My Neck? by Michael LaRocca

Can a serious author venture into humorous writing without destroying the last few shreds of his credibility? Let’s find out. Dog stories, cat stories, redneck stories, horse stories, Hong Kong stories, and of course the infamous hog … [Continue reading]

The Chronicles of a Lost Soul

If you've already read it, I love you. I recently unearthed the 1987 edition, which contained eight stories, poems, and essays that have never been published before now. I've added those, revised the existing material, and even wrote a new poem … [Continue reading]

Oktoberfest in China

I celebrated Oktoberfest in China. Since it seems Jan and I have become “elder statesmen” for the Western teachers, by virtue of not leaving after six months, we took the three new teachers with us. We waited at the school gates for about 10 … [Continue reading]

Why Is My Life So Boring? (my favorite bits)

Why Is My Life So Boring?

Are you shaped by nature or by nurture? It doesn’t matter, because you control neither of them. However, you can choose how to react to them. That’s how you get past fatalistic victim thinking and start living in earnest. Inertia may be (or seem) … [Continue reading]

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It's usually held during the last week of September. This year the dates are September 21 through September 27. Banned Books Week highlights the value of free and open access to … [Continue reading]

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