“The best way to grow a book is to write it, and then get responses and guidance from other writers. It’s like an actor getting notes during rehearsals and then polishing the performance.”
The Writers Workshop develops writers, edits books, and helps authors from inspiration to publication. Founded by editor and novelist Ron Seybold, The Writers Workshop is a resource that provides writing workshops for novels and memoirs, creativity groups, coaching, and editorial services. Ron, the author of the novel Viral Times, has been writing and editing for publication for 35 years. He is also a past finalist in the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in the Memoir and Historical Fiction categories.
In addition to developing and inspiring authors, the Writers Workshop is a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with Ron Seybold to find out more.
Scribe: Tell us a little about why you founded the Writer’s Workshop and its mission.
Ron Seybold: I wanted to build a service with a full spectrum for authors, from creation to workshopping and then to editing for publication. After more than 25 years of writing, editing, acting, and podcasting, I trained in the Amherst Writers & Artists practices. I started to lead weekly Creation Nights, which soon led to workshops for authors writing books. From there, I transitioned into editing services as well.
Back in 2006 editorial services for authors were just starting to bloom. I’d been working in publications, helping writers improve their work. We editors are lucky to play our part to help hard-working writers get to publication. The Workshop gives authors the services and support to bring their books to the world. The best way to grow a book is to write it, and then get responses and guidance from other writers.
Scribe: In July, you spoke on a Writers’ League Third Thursday panel about writing and critique groups. Why is it important for writers to find writing/critique groups?
RS: You may be able to envision what you want your book to be, but other writers will see what a reader wants and needs from your story. You don’t copyedit a book in a good group—you learn what’s working in your story, what confuses a reader, and where readers may have drifted in your writing. All three of those notes are important. In a good group, the authors are both honest and polite, encouraging as well as specific while they critique.
A group helps you produce on a deadline for others to read. You also get better at understanding the components of stories by annotating responses to other authors. You become adept at naming the parts of the world. The podcast from that Third Thursday says even more about how to workshop well.
Scribe: You recently created an anthology of some of your Workshop participants’ writing, titled Small Packages. Can you tell us a more about this anthology and how it came into being?
RS: After being an editor all those years, it was my dream to start a small lit journal. Over the first nine years of Creation Nights, some amazing writing emerged. Creation Nights are 25-minute writing sessions, and during those sessions, some people created completed flash fiction, some have now had short stories published in journals, and others wrote the building blocks that became books. It’s a thrill to know that I was able to assist writers whose work is now for sale BookPeople and Malvern Books. I love those bookstores.
Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?
RS: The Writers’ League of Texas is essential to the health of our writing community. I tell every Workshop member to join because WLT teaches us to write better and more easily, as well as making us aware of the business side of the publishing world and giving us opportunities to make connections. The contests lift up authors, too. Craft, community, and business savvy are a powerful toolset for any writer. A Saturday spent with WLT instructors always gives me something to take back to my editing desk, writing groups, and my own keyboard.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
RS: Faking Lucky by Q.D. Perdu, who won the Writers’ League Manuscript Contest in the Romance category with the story a few years ago. Sweet, sexy, funny, wise, and set in Austin. How do you go wrong with a comic love story about a heroine named Desdemona?
Scribe: Anything else you’d like to share?
RS: Those Creation Nights are block-busters. Writing in them helps us stay in contact with our book projects. You never know where the writing will go. One writer worked her way onto the New York Times bestseller list. We have a new series starting in March, and a few seats open in our workshop groups, too.
Click here to visit The Writers Workshop website.
Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?
Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.