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'Famous Writers School:' Lessons for the Teacher

Steven Carter wrote <em>I Was Howard Hughes</em> and has a new book, <em>Famous Writers School:  A Novel</em>, out this month.  He currently teaches as an assistant English professor at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
Steven Carter wrote <em>I Was Howard Hughes</em> and has a new book, <em>Famous Writers School: A Novel</em>, out this month. He currently teaches as an assistant English professor at Georgetown College in Kentucky.

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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