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I am often told that Officier in Afghanistan is such a great read, a real page turner. That is not incidental: ‘a great read’ is hard work, but can definitely be learned. For me, two books and a course were crucial in this learning process.

The course is the famous (or better: infamous) Robert McKee seminar, the Hollywood script doctor. McKee is once or twice a year in Europe (he’ll be in London on 22-25 November 2012). In his seminar he teaches a whole life of writing experience in four days. He teaches you how to profoundly look at your texts and to analyse where you’re doing okay, where not and how to solve those problems. You can also read his book Story, but I honestly have to say that I found the book not as impressive as the seminar.

Two other writing books did impress me. Both are practical and funny, and I’ve read them so often that I know them almost by heart. Which is actually necessary, because these books are so jam-packed with good, technical information that there’s no way you will absorb it in one read. They are How Not to Write a Novel and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

Writing can definitely be taught.

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