Monday, May 23, 2011

Writing in the Company of Geniuses

Learning to write in the company of geniuses, I have writing experts for professors and my classmates are on bestseller lists. 

And guess who is struggling to keep up?

There is no secret formula, no succinct cheat notes, no clever apps to get from Novice Writer to Published Author. I read books on craft, highlighting and trying out suggestions.  I read best sellers and old favorites with a writer’s eye and emulate in bites and samples.

Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins has changed my writing the most since I started on this quest. If you KNOW your characters well, everything else falls into place – plotting, dialogue, pacing, details.

The novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak has influenced me with its lyrical language - indescribable and enviable. I also have to give kudos to The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.  A gymnast in sentence structure, this novelist does strange and courageous things to compound complex sentences.  

I figure among all those words, I will find my voice, my niche, my courage. I need to trust in those who know more about the craft than I do, but the only route to writing well is good, old-fashioned pen to paper. I have to trust in my own genius and write.

I am open to suggestions.  Which craft book or fiction novel would you suggest and why?

1 comment:

  1. When I first considered getting serious about writing, someone told me that if I wanted to be a good writer I absolutely had to read two books.
    The first was The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler (which was inspired by The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell). I read this last year and it was great. It talks about types of heros, character archetypes, and stages of a story, making a lot of comparisons with popular movies.
    The other book I was told to read was Tricks and Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. I'm about a quarter of the way through this one right now and it's slow going because his writing style is annoying to me, but he has some good advice for writing mechanics.
    As for fiction, I still need to learn the discipline of reading with a writer's eye. I read for the story. The advice I've heard says to read it a second time with a writer's eyes, but I have trouble reading a book twice close together unless it's a really great book and then I want to read it for the story again.