Malcolm Campbell is the author of two adventure travel guidebooks, editor of professional golf instructor Dana Rader’s golf instructional book, Rock Solid Golf, and founder of the independent publishing house Walkabout Press. In Malcolm’s twenty years as a commercial writer, he’s written everything from power-tool-accessory catalogs to television commercials to cover/feature stories for national magazines. Malcolm is the 2008 recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize, and he teaches in UNCC’s Writing Program.
At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Malcolm will lead a workshop titled, “The Tao of Self-Doubt: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Writers.” Writing is a difficult, lonely endeavor—one marked by occasional vacillation between self-doubt (“I’m a hack”) and grandiosity (“I’m the greatest writer ever”). Yet, self-doubt and heightened self-esteem are healthy, useful emotions for the writer, when they exist within certain limits. How can we put these and other emotions to use in our apprenticeship as writers? What are some effective means of preparing ourselves for the emotional realms of writing? Of working with editors or in writing groups? And of dealing with the time we spend alone, in reflection, both when we’re writing and when we’re not? Malcolm will present ten lessons for how to work through the emotional demands on creative individuals. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll sing “Kumbaya.”
Malcolm will also serve as a Critiquer for those attendees who register for the Critique Service. The Critique Service provides writers with in-depth literary critiques of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for those who choose to participate in the Critique Service.
What are you reading right now?
The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson (plus student papers).
If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, who would it be?
Lady Brett Ashley from The Sun Also Rises.
What aspect of craft do you feel you handle especially well, or is especially important to you?
Dialogue comes naturally to me and is important in the way it conveys tension.
Any memorable rejections?
Two for two for the NC Arts Council $10k grants.
Do you own an electronic reading device?
What’s one thing that bugs you more than anything else when you see it in a piece of writing?
Too much exposition in third-person.
Do you steal pens from hotels?
No–only from motels.
If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Write to discover.
The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorites, if not the best I’ve seen.
What was the worst?
The Great Gatsby is the most recent, disappointing adaptation I’ve seen. I cannot think of the worst.
What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
That the protagonist’s desire-resistance pattern should exist on a literal level, as well as have deeper currents of desire and resistance.
Please fill in the blank: I have read __ of the Harry Potter books.
Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference closes November 8. Register now.