Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Learning New Magic

I'm a firm believer that anyone can write given the desire to. And, while I understand that grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important, the most essential aspect of the reading experience is how well the story is told. I can overlook bad grammar. Yes, it is a talent in and of itself - requiring lots of patience. But, if a story doesn't grab me or is difficult to read, I struggle to stick with it to the end.

So, to ensure that I am doing the best story telling and word crafting I can, I decided to enroll in a writing class. It's only a five night course and my first class was last evening. It's a bit early to tell how this class will help my writing, but, I figure it can't hurt, right?

One of the things that was stressed in the first session was to write for the reader and read like a writer. Writing for the reader means to write to evoke a reaction - to engage the reader in the telling of your story. It was also mentioned that we should be showing the reader, not telling them. That is, to quote Anton Chekhov, "Don't' tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass." I've read this in several places as I've researched writing tips, so it is nice to hear it again in an official writing class.

Reading like a writer means to observe as you read and try to understand how the writer is able to evoke the reaction you felt. This aligns with another tip I read on improving my writing skills - to read more and pay attention to how some of my favorite stories are told. While reading, I ask "What about the writing style keeps me turning the pages?" I also pay special attention to the dialogue and how people and scenes are described. Those aspects are important for drawing the reader into the story - making them feel like they are walking next to one of the characters.

So, while I haven't learned anything new yet, it's early still and the research I've done so far has been confirmed. This gives me some reassurance that I'm on the right track to becoming a better writer. And, sometimes, that's enough to to give me the push I need to keep weaving my spells.

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