Steve Adams

Writing Coach and Writer

My name is Steve Adams. I’m a writing coach and a writer.

As a writing coach I’ve worked with published, award-winning novelists, short-fiction writers, and nonfiction writers; unpublished but dedicated and experienced writers; and those new to the game who have always believed they had something to say, but didn’t know quite how or where to begin.

My many years of writing and analyzing a broad range of forms (fiction, essay, playwriting, screenwriting, poetry) give me structural insight into manuscript evaluation, and my study of, and in-depth exposure to, music, acting, dance, theater arts, and visual arts affords me a varying set of perspectives from which to approach the process of writing and the disciplines that support art. I find coaching writers a form of work almost as rewarding as writing itself.

Putting your work in the world

Woke up to this very unexpected news: "A brief excerpt from your story at New Flash Fiction Review has been selected to project as part of The Creative Process's upcoming exhibition for the European Consortium For Humanities Institutes and Centres and shown at University of Leuven in Belgium (from April 4th to June)."

I honestly have no idea how this happened. NFFR is an online journal focused on flash (very short) writing. It seems crazy that the last 10 lines of my essay, “Why You Move to New York, v. mid-80s” will be part of an art exhibit in Belgium. But that's the thing about being a writer. It may feel at times that your work is disappearing into a black hole out there, that no one's reading it. But by even getting it in the smallest outlet it can do work in the world you may not know about, and couldn't possibly have imagined.

breaking silence

"With every story, long or short, there is an implied silence that is broken. The same silence that obtains when the conductor walks out and the audience quietens, and he steps up and taps the little stand where all the music is waiting, and then he raises his arms, and presto! Beethoven's ninth symphony comes into the world again. It is the same, in its way, where writing is concerned. And if you ask yourself, during revision, 'why has the silence been broken here?' you can reach into the very center of the piece, its heart. And work outward from there. And then remember that the broken silence is your voice going out into the world, and it will still be sounding in these words and phrases when you are long gone. Whether anyone comes to it or not, it will be there. And so in that one lovely way, you are never effaced. You have made the joyful noise."

— Richard Bausch

Voice

"The secret to any voice grows from a writer’s finding a tractor beam of inner truth about psychological conflicts to shine the way.”

— Mary Karr

The Terrain

"Running into the inherent difficulty of the task and not knowing which way to turn is not being blocked. It's just encountering the terrain, the territory where you will be spending more time than you ever thought you would spend anywhere. Relax. As I've said before, if you're spending the time struggling with it, then it's going well. It is ALWAYS going well if you're working, whether you're finding it easy or not. And if you're not working--not taking the chances and suffering the stumbles through it--then get to work. Be stubborn and go on and make the mistakes and take the blind alleyways. That's the way it gets done. I'll repeat myself here, too: you can't ruin it. You can only make it necessary to do it again. So, you do it again. And again. As many times as it takes to become itself, solid and so strangely, happily, separate from you."

—  Richard Bausch

Happiness

"In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."

—  Ray Bradbury

Pushcart Nominee featured in the Pushcart Anthology

Last year I was in a position to nominate a handful of stories for the Pushcart Prize. Lit people know how damn near impossible (the numbers are staggering) it is for a nominated story to make the Pushcart anthology. So I was absolutely thrilled to return from a trip yesterday and find inside the 2018 edition one of those stories – “A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness” by Jai Chakrabarti, originally published in A Public Space. Congratulations, Jai. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story.