Guest Post by Matt Wallace. The Loose Cannon Writing Workshop

I've been attending Matt Wallace's writing workshops, The Loose Cannon (TLC), for the past year and I've learned so much. Matt doesn't beat around the bush, he just tells you straight up what he thinks but it's always constructive. Currently he is trying to find a little "new blood" for his workshops as many of the originals have graduated. I highly recommend these workshops if you're serious about writing and improving your craft. If you want to pad up your ego and validate yourself somehow, these are definitely not the workshops for you. Underneath his rough exterior Matt genuinely cares about his students--though he may never admit it ;) He always asks how our writing is going, offers encouragement, and is always ready with advice. I consider him a writing coach more than just a workshop instructor.

His website/blog is:

So, here he is with a guest post:

In early 2011 I began teaching a monthly on-line writing workshop covering a wide variety of topics and skills for the aspiring professional author. I dubbed it The Loose Cannon, based on the Good Cop, Bad Cop edition of Mur Lafferty’s award-winning I Should Be Writing podcast, which I co-host with Mur.

I’m the bad cop. Obviously.

The Loose Cannon was founded on three overriding principles… 1) I would be brutally honest with my students about how bad they sucked and what they needed to do to improve. 2) There would be no abstract guidelines, maxims, or theories presented grandly and vaguely. Specificity and tangible, relatable examples would rule. 3) We would under no circumstances sit around and talk about writing and being writers and what that all means in an endless verbal circle-jerk. I would make my students write, then write some more, then keep writing until they got better.

Those tenets have guided me over the last two years of doing TLC (as it affectionately and ironically became known). In that time I’ve worked with students quite literally from all over the world; Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Israel, the Netherlands, and half the states in the Union. They came, and (shockingly, especially for me) kept coming back for more. I watched as they actually, genuinely improve by oceanic lengths.

They’ve gone on to sell short stories, sell novels, and even become publishers themselves. More importantly, they’ve gone on to be writers who don’t embarrass and depress me.

It got to the point where I no longer needed to seek attendees because I had my hands full with the existing class. A core group of them are still with me, my little salon of TLC alums, showing up every month to work on their craft and leave the “culture of writing” bullshit to the poseur 99% out there who live to hashtag their tweets with whatever writing-related subject is trending.

Many, however, have moved on. As is and should be the goal of any student studying any subject when they’re ready. Thus, it’s time for new blood.

I’m opening no less than six new slots in my next TLC workshop in November. If you’ve thought about giving TLC a shot in the past, now is the time to step up and get gut checked. If this is the first you’re hearing about it, but you are awed by both my talent and obvious wisdom and want to absorb as much of both as is possible through the process of internet osmosis, now is also the time. The particulars…

Saturday, Nov. 17th, 2012, 1:00 p.m. PST— “ ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Explained” It’s the most oft used, under-explained, over-repeated, misunderstood phrase in all the masturbatory writing instructional land. But there’s an important lesson to take away from this classic principle. We’ll break down what it actually means, why it’s important, how to do it, go over prime examples of it in detail, and then practice doing it until you understand it and at least almost-kinda-sorta get it right. Sunday, Nov. 18th, 2012 1:00 p.m. PST— “Simile & Metaphor Power Session” This is an advanced workshop designed specifically for my TLC alums, all of who have built up a tolerance and honed their skills sufficiently to handle the demands. We will delve into and stretch your command of descriptive language. You will be forced to think more abstractly and with greater detail than you yet have and express that in prose, repeatedly and spontaneously, on command. It will be intense, challenging, and utterly relentless.

If you sign up for the Nov. 17th workshop and you’d like to dive right in and subject yourself to the following day’s power session, I’ll grant you admittance at no additional cost. I also offer annual passes at a reduced rate. These spots tend to go fast, as the majority of aspiring authors are abject masochists who enjoy abuse and can’t tell the difference between punishment and validation. I didn’t make you this way. I am simply profiting from it. E-mail with any questions and for rates and further details.