Learning the Craft

One of the things that separates the author from a writer or a story teller is the craft. Craft inovlves the way you put together a story so that it works together, paces well, and generally flows well. It’s knowing when to show and when to tell. I am going to be working on craft as I continue my writing. The first area I’m going to tackle is description. I love reading well written description. It makes the scene come alive to me. I just have not felt comfortable writing description. When I write it, I feel like it’s overdone and “hokey” if I can use that word. The only way to work on description is to do it, so, I’m planning on working on description in a few different ways. Over the next week (?) I’ll be doing some descriptive writing. I’ll be posting it here for you to critique. I’m pretty good at taking criticism and try to use it as a springboard to grow. I’ll include my feelings about the writing after the selection. What I eventually want to hear is “Nailed it” (and not like those pinterest memes.) I don’t expect to nail it at first, so I would appreciate any feedback. If you have any ideas to help me as I go through this journey: websites, techniques, descriptive exercises, good examples of descriptive writing – please share them. I appreciate any and all help. Thanks in advance!

Having a Moment

After posting yesterday, writer’s block set it. Some wit said that writer’s block happens when writers have nothing to say and the sad thing is, it doesn’t happen to them more often. Mine wasn’t based on having nothing to say; mine was based on grief and fear. As I studied the beta reader’s comments, there was a little bit of grief in losing the simple story I had. I knew that, for the most part, he was on target with his comments. I have heard him critique shorter pieces and that was why I was excited when he agreed to be a beta reader for me. Still, there was a sense of grief as I realized that all those plot holes and inconsistencies that I had learned to love had to go. I believe that what will rise from the ashes will be a much better story, but it will require a lot more work than a few small touch ups. And that’s where the fear came in.

I realized I needed to do a lot of foundation work before I went back to rewriting. I had to understand my characters in depth, including my living villain. I had to change the motivation for my villain while, at the same time, make his good character qualities stronger. I had to have a better explanation for the break in the family relationships of my main character. I needed to understand my world and place it in proper context on its planet – especially for future novels. I needed to understand my nameless, faceless villain and find ways to weave the background of that agency into the story so that tales of the current nature will make sense. I even realized that the changes I made for this book, would affect the other books – especially since the original title no longer made sense in light of the ideas I had for changing things.

So, I had a moment yesterday. I opened up the file for this book and stared at the character page for my male main character. I couldn’t even put down the height. I went away and looked at something else. I don’t know how many times I went to that page, and clicked away from it because of the fear of doing this right. I couldn’t work on some other writing that I had to do either. One of them is a writing challenge for 400 words a day. Later in the evening I finally passed 400 words, but not by much. So yesterday I had a moment. Today, I have hope. Today, I will begin reworking my characters and falling so much in love with them again that I want to be sure and tell their story – different as it may be. Today, I begin the process of falling in love with my better, more complex story as I progress towards becoming an author.