Guest Blogger: Kim Heacox wants you to Set Your Fiction on Fire!

I know a dedicated woman who worked for years on her first novel. Over and over again she tried to sell it, always revising it to meet publishers’ expectations. Finally she burned it. She threw a big party, invited her friends over, served up food and drinks, and tossed her masterpiece into the flames, page-by-page. She needed to move on.

Her second novel was a bestseller. So there.

Maybe she knows something I do not.

Still, there are others ways to set your fiction on fire. How? Join me April 13 in Anchorage (or April 18 in Juneau) for my 3-hour 49 Writers class: “Set Your Fiction on Fire.” My objective: to help you create vivid characters and compelling plots; help you give your story heat and light, make it shine with epic generosity and heart, make it a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.

I have no cards up my sleeve. Everything I intend to teach I’ve learned from others, or from my own experiences, or from editors, manuscript doctors (I hired two while writing my novel, Jimmy Bluefeather) and from publishers.

Topics to be discussed:

  1. character development: how to make one or more compelling character(s) that the readers care deeply for;
  2. using strong points-of-view (and shifting points-of-view) to further develop characters and the story;
  3. creating a plot that’s compelling, not corny;
  4. scene setting that adds tension by entering late and leaving early, and
  5. compelling dialogue that employs intelligence, color, morality, humor and wit….

I promise to make this class lively, informative and fun.

In her book on creativity, Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about being open to your muse; the stories of the universe that float around and land on people and test them to see if they’re receptive to their own creativity. As Joni Mitchell sang, “We are stardust, we are golden.”

The universe is made of stories looking for a home. Are you open? Ready to light your fire within? Join me.

Kim Heacox lives in Gustavus and is the author of the Alaska memoirs The Only Kayak and Rhythm of the Wild, and the acclaimed novel Jimmy Bluefeather. Learn more about him at

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