Puzzling Her Way Through the Craft of Story

Fiction Fluency teaches Leonore how to fit the pieces together

Leonore Lakshmanan

Meet Leonore–a creative spirit and music lover who discovered delight in her writing, and the tools to do it well, in an unexpected way.

When an empty nest gave her time and opportunity, Leonore explored her passion for creating children’s musicals. But she soon realized that a compelling musical requires a great story. It’s like fitting together a thousand-piece puzzle, and she felt she was missing some pieces.

Fortunately, Leonore has an award-winning professional writer for a brother: Eric Witchey, the brain behind the Fiction Fluency seminar series.

Storytelling was an essential piece of their upbringing and connection. “As kids, we’d go on these epic road trips. Someone would give an opening story scene, then the next person would add to it, and the next person would add to that.”

Leonore knew she could turn to Eric for writing help–she’d heard him talk a lot about his own stories over the years, about what worked and what didn’t. So she called him for advice, asking “What is wrong with this part, that part?” 

Then Leonore decided to write a novel. 

“Eric and several of the folks I knew at Wordcrafters and in the writing community bugged me to write this novel I’ve been talking about for years,” Leonore says. So she did, producing 60,000 words between November and January.

 “I have a novel-length manuscript now. It’s awful. It’s absolutely disjointed,” she says.

But when Leonore jumped into Fiction Fluency, she found the missing pieces to her puzzle–empowering her to create clear and compelling pictures with her writing.

“There’s so much to know. And so much to practice. The practices are just invaluable. It’s been an amazing, incredible journey and a joy to learn about story,” Leonore says. “I don’t know how anybody can write a book when they don’t have an understanding of the tools that are taught in Fiction Fluency. I can see why people take it several times.”

Leonore appreciates learning the nuts and bolts of language, as well as the program’s focus on the reader’s perception, a critical aspect often overlooked in other writing classes.

Taking the class from her brother, Eric, is a unique experience. She admires his ability to break down complex concepts into digestible segments, fostering a deeper understanding of the craft.

“He can see what you’re missing, knows how to guide you from A to B to C, until it clicks. He understands how the brain works, how to train it to write better,” she says.

Fiction Fluency has become an integral part of Leonore’s writing life, shaping her creative vision and craft. 

She halted work on her musicals to focus on mastering the art of storytelling, knowing the tools and techniques she’s learning now are building a solid foundation for her future works.

Leonore wants to get back to storytelling through musicals, creating stories that sing. She doesn’t aspire to write the next global hit musical or a bestselling novel–her dream is to tell stories that resonate with people, especially children. 

“And with what I’m learning in Fiction Fluency, I’m building the confidence, the skill, the technique. Maybe not just yet, but it’s coming,” she says.

“Fiction Fluency isn’t just a class; it’s a hands-on, intensive writing workout,” Leonore says. “It’s not for casual learners. It’s for those serious about refining their craft, those who are willing to engage deeply with the material. It’s an ongoing practice. And I’m excited to keep practicing and evolving as a writer.”

Leonore’s story is a testament to the transformative power of Fiction Fluency.

About Eric Witchey

Eric Witchey has sold stories under several names and in 12 genres. His tales have been translated into multiple languages, and his credits include over 170 stories, including 5 novels and two collections.

Eric has penned dozens of writing-related articles and essays and taught more than 200 conference seminars, as well as at universities and community colleges.

His work has received recognition from New Century Writers, Writers of the Future, Writer’s Digest, Independent Publisher Book Awards, International Book Awards, The Eric Hoffer Prose Award Program, Short Story America, the Irish Aeon Awards, and other organizations.

His how-to articles have appeared in The Writer Magazine, Writer’s Digest Magazine, and other print and online magazines.