Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Wow, what a wonderful experience it was to meet Cecil Murphy and be a part of his clinic. I had heard that he was a man of great kindness, gifted in his craft of writing, and open to share himself with anyone who asks. Having spent four days with Cec, I can say that this is true and much more.

Six authors attended. Half of them were published and desired to hone their craft. The other half were not yet published, but dedicated to polish their craft of writing. The authors were both writing fiction and non-fiction. All were focused on learning as much as possible from Cec. Cec was at their side challenging, praising, and teaching each day. His focus was on each individual, as if no one else was in the room. What a gift he has.

Bill has captured the following points as shared from Cec.

Cecil Murphy’s Writers Clinic
August 2008

Taking your craft from good to great

The power of a single word:
Every sentence needs to end with the strong word, and not only the strongest word, the right word.

When characters are going from place to place, get them there with minimum interruption. Don’t break the flow of the movement with thoughts. You can pause the movement at points, but the object is to get the characters where they’re going.

Back-story should be woven in small snippets. You shouldn’t stop the flow to tell the reader a lot about why what’s going on is going on.

Weather, rooms, and things, add depth to a story, but too much clutters up a storyline, and like back-story, stops the flow of the plot. Don’t make the surroundings more important than the storyline.

When you have a character do something without showing the reader why, character appear out of pace with the story. The reader can’t identify with the action unless a motive is shown.

Emotional scenes:
Once the character connects with their emotions give the reader enough to feel for the character. Here you can reveal snippets of back-story and delve into why the emotions are so strong.

Less is more:
Remove unnecessary words and replace them with a powerful word or two that conveys the message. Every word that can be taken out without losing the sense of the sentence should go.

Stay tuned for our next publication. I will share some of the great things I learned from Cec while he spoke to the Tulsa Chapger of Writers of Inspirational Novels.