Skip to main content

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?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt diffe

Teenagers: Stinky Little Extraterrestrials

Years ago, a skunk sprayed our yard during the night and the next     morning I trekked out to my car to drive to work and unknowingly stepped into the oily residue. I tracked skunk stink into my Jeep and onto the carpet in my office, a room I shared with a kind and forgiving co-worker. It took a week or two and several large cans of Lysol and air freshener to get rid of the smell. Ever since my profound Close Encounter of a Second Kind (I never saw the skunk but it left evidence of its presence), I became a skunk expert. I learned the way of the skunk. My experience imprinted itself into my hippocampus and I acquired a heightened sense of smell.  I can detect a skunk several miles away, outperforming a normal human nose that can only start to do the same at one mile. I have the same uncanny sense about adolescents.  After 30-plus years of teaching teenagers and having raised three of my own, you might say, I have reached the Close Encounter level of a Fifth Kind: I have actually

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.   I sputter.   I hyperventilate.   I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties.   I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.   While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several). Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”   I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.   You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting.   Me