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Steven Carter currently teaches at Georgetown College in Kentucky. ()

'Famous Writers School:' Lessons for the Teacher

by Liane Hansen
Oct 22, 2006 (Weekend Edition Sunday)

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With the recent outpouring of writers' workshops and online writing communities, anyone can be a writer. Author Steven Carter has addressed this issue in his newest book Famous Writers School: A Novel.

Carter's book follows the founder and teacher of the school, protagonist Wendell Newton — who, through his bumbling interactions with students, shows that while anyone may be able to write, not everyone should teach.

The school, a correspondence course advertised in the back of literary magazines, is made up of a few novice authors — including a crime fiction-writing John Deere sales representative whose excerpts make up a good deal of Carter's novel.

There's also some good writer's block advice, for example, pretending that you're writing to a friend or pressuring characters. However, Wendell Newton offers an even more unusual piece of advice — stealing names from obituaries.

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