Friday, August 13, 2010

It Comes Down to the Writing

Writing can sometimes be like wandering through the wilderness searching for the clearing and the sunlight.You have to hack away at the first draft, the second draft. Someone once told me that nothing is any good until the 8th draft.  Cut through the verbiage, slice out the side trips that meander from the heart of your story. In other words, don't waste your readers' time.  They deserve the best. They hunger for a good story. Great books promote themselves.  The rewards are many.

Some of the elements of good writing are:
  • Omit needless words 
  • Have a clear purpose in mind when writing a scene 
  • Think about your audience and how you want to connect
  • Pay attention to the finer details; "the frosting on the cake"  
  • Proceed with organization and clarity   
I had three editors for my book, each adding an ingredient to the mix; each mining this scene, that piece of dialogue, that sentence and then adding her inimitable touch.  My editors were not there to stroke my ego.  But they didn't cut me to shreds either.  Feedback and rewrite are the next logical steps to writing anything.

Some of the most invaluable critique I received came from people in writing groups I participated in over the last several years.  It was one of the reasons I started the Circle.  No one can or should have to write in a vacuum.

No matter how good the story, if the writing isn't there to back it up, you might as well hang up your notebook, your laptop, your pens and pencils and call it a day.  My writing was honed over decades of professional writing experience - but experience takes you only so far -  and then you need an editor to lead you out of the darkness into the sunlight.  

All the best,
Susan
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