dream year books

My family and friends are tired of hearing me gripe about how best-selling books like the Hunger Games trilogy and The Shack are full of punctuation and grammar errors (hello, Suzanne Collins) or paragraphs of unnecessary copy (I’m talking to you, William P. Young).

It’s too late for them, but I’m thrilled at an opportunity to help a new tribe of authors “give birth” to their books. Last week Ben Arment, founder of the STORY conference, creator of Dream Year, and author of Church in the Making, launched Dream Year Books, an April-December project that …


new to you friday–success story

Once upon a time there lived a freelance writer who really wanted to attend STORY.

In 2010, because of a generous person, this writer attended the second-annual conference. She heard amazing speakers like Charlie Todd, Andrew Klavan, Jason Fried and David McFadzean. She sat at the feet of legendary UCLA screenwriting professor Richard Walter (literally–there was no more room on the couch). She got some free stuff and met Ben Arment and heard Amena Brown share one of her newest poems at an Elements event at the city’s “premiere gay and lesbian bar” before …


success story

6a00d83451dccb69e20115707ca4e1970b-300wiHumorist and cookbook author Peg Bracken once described the difference between a gourmet cook and her own humble efforts this way:

[The gourmet’s] assignment had been dessert. So, at dessert time, she brought out big plastic bags of old-fashioned plump chocolate-marshmallow cookies.

“I adore these, don’t you?” she beamed, handing them around. And everyone did, thinking, moreover, How original, how posh! But if someone else had done this they’d have thought, Poor child, how naive!

The same principle applies in other areas—people already established as successes in a particular field can often do no wrong, while an …