“The Writer’s Writer”

Gary Provost

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“Until his death in 1995, Gary Provost was one of the most beloved writing instructors in the United States. He taught tens of thousands of writers through his seminars, books, articles and videos.”
--Writer’s Digest.

During his lifetime, Gary Provost (1944-1995) had become one of America's leading writing-for-publication instructors as well as the author of 24 books in genres ranging from how-to instruction for writers (of course!); full-length adult and young adult fiction (literary, mystery, romance); and full-length nonfiction (biography, true crime, sports how-to, business). He doctored manuscripts, worked as a ghostwriter, and along the way published thousands of articles for magazines and newspapers--including columns, humorous pieces and celebrity profiles.

ANNOUNCING THE FOLLOWING WORKSHOPS . . . as GARY'S LEGACY continues to inspire new generations of students and instructors . . .

November 14-19, 2016 (Haverford, PA, outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Directed by Gary's protege, Carol "Doc" Dougherty and supported by a caring, dedicated core staff--this program will also feature renown guest instructor, DAVID CORBETT, author of THE ART OF CHARACTER. David is also the author of numerous highly-acclaimed, award-winning contemporary crime fiction--novels and short stories. His articles on craft, (like Gary's), have been featured in multiple writers' publications, including WRITER'S DIGEST (where they both have served as contributing editors). David is also a regular contributor to the esteemed writer's blog, Writer Unboxed.
To learn more, see Quick Links to the left on this page and go to

WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP-Celebrating our thirtieth year!
May 11-18, 2017 (In the heart of San Antonio, Texas)
San Antonio, Texas

Featured guest, LISA CRON, author of the revolutionary book, WIRED FOR STORY: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, is also an instructor at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, as a producer for Showtime, as a story consultant for Warner Brothers. And much, MUCH more.



If you're reading this, I believe you have felt yourself called to this site. In an important way Gary has touched you--the serious writer in you. Or he's touched another writer who understands well that powerful part of who you truly are. Who you need to be. So, I'm glad you're here. I believe in you. And I believe that the more you learn about Gary, and the more you learn from him, the more you'll understand he believed in you too. It will feel as though he'd been all along communicating specifically to you. Yes, you!

So, hi there, You!

Do you know that Gary never went to college? He taught himself how to write well. Exceedingly well. And how to get published, exceedingly well. And, while he went on to have an amazing career along the path of his fondest dream, he discovered another skill he did just as well: teaching other writers, saving them years of agonizing struggle, frustration, disappointment.

Your success is what he'd have desired for you. That's what I desire for you now. Please look around this site. It's neither snazzy nor slick. Sharing is my forte, not technological savvy. But I've done my best to put this "out there" for you, and admittedly, for myself as well. To share Gary. Still.

Now, if you're a high school or college student, your teachers may have given you samples of his work to study. (Gary authored five instructional books for writers and countless instructional articles and columns.) Possibly you've come across his now famous writing tip that pops up from various writers and writing teachers online. ("This sentence has five words . . . " It's about varying sentence length to create music. Music. That particular writing tip has even been set to music by a couple of graduate students of music theory and composition.)

If you are a writer who has been in the freelance trenches for a while, or have long been an aspiring author, you may have participated in one of our nationwide WRITE IT/​SELL IT weekend seminars for fiction and nonfiction. Possibly you attended a writers' conference, in which Gary had been a wildly popular speaker. (He'd also been celebrated as a plucky, anti-establishment cult hero by a slew of freelance writers.) Maybe you were a student of one of our highly-acclaimed WRW workshops.

What's that? Well, back in 1987 Gary and I co-created the WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP, a two-week intensive, in-residence program for a small group of serious fiction and creative nonfiction writers so they could learn directly from Gary. (After the first year's sessions, we culled the program to ten days.) Almost immediately, however, we affectionately referred to our program as "The WRW".

Although we continued to limit participation for the sake of ample personalized attention from Gary, more and more of the students who registered were returning students. WRW was always a true labor of love, for all of us. We and our students shared a vision and passion for the work we did together, and our clear sense of "family" took hold and blossomed.

Then, one Sunday in 1996, we discovered that USA WEEKEND had honored our WRW program as THE writing "vacation that can change your life." Sadly, that tribute came after Gary's passing. This 2 minute video explains why it is so awesome.

However, WRWers who had learned from him continue(d) to share his wise and generous instruction, insight, and approachability. The program evolved and, with new generations of WRWers, the legacy has endured for just short of 30 years!

Our most recent WRW was again conducted in May in one of our new "homes" for our program. (The Oblate Retreat Center is located in the heart of San Antonio, Texas and its magical gardens are only a hop, skip and jump from the San Antonio airport. To learn more about WRW, please visit our 'GARY'S COURSES' section.)

Now, if it's not in the cards for you to attend WRW's in-residence program, you might seriously consider learning from Gary via his courses designed specifically for at-home viewing and study. (Click on our 'GARY'S COURSES' section to learn more.)

Finally, if you'd like to learn more about Gary's personal story, its relevance to you and your dreams of writing excellence and publishing success, I invite you to read on. (If you can't do that now, please bookmark this page for another, more convenient time.)

Meanwhile, keep on writing and learning, progressing and growing as you continue along your journey. One day, your dream will come true. Persistence, that's the ticket!

May you dream your dream on,
--Gail Provost Stockwell


Instruction for Writers

Gary’s invaluable, easy-to-use handbook helps you solve any and all writing problems — whether you are a student, business person or professional writer. Timeless!

Another timeless guide to help you fashion your own creative style by avoiding weak and wasted words.

“A crystallization of Gary Provost’s writing wisdom... philosophy made practical.”
—Writer’s Digest Books

Are you an aspiring author? You are, aren't you! Well, here, Gary and Peter examine every secret, every facet of storytelling, from narrative hooks to fulfilling climaxes. With an outstanding array of examples, you can learn to master the cornerstones of great writing. Step by step. (An original Writer's Digest publication, it is now available to writers in ebook format from online booksellers.)

Master techniques of ripping stories from the headlines for fun and profit.

The Freelance Writer's Handbook contains a wealth of information on leads, query letters, markets and making money off of writing. This had been THE little manual for freelancers . . . back in the day.

The most popular of Gary's novels is now available as an eBook. AND is also now an AUDIBLE book. It's hilarious. It's so . . . Gary.

Gary and Gail's second collaboration. An inspiring book for young people, and people young at heart, who dare to dream big.