Author Rick Bass (The Ninemile Wolves,The Hermit’s Story, and many others) visited my Short Story Writing class today. He read from his work, talked about being a geologist (and the moral choices that scientists face), the importance of nature, and reviewed these tips for good writing, paraphrased by me: 1. Make your first sentence your second strongest and your last sentance the strongest. 2. Use no more than 10% back story. 3. Discipline yourself to write every day. 4. Make your protagonist active. (It’s tempting to make the person a passive observer, but don’t.) 5. Sense details and specificity make the story believable. 6. Create trouble for your protagonist–isolation, uncertainty, etc. 7. Emotion, emotion. Here’s a photo with Rick and three of my students who were brave enough to have a photo snapped.