THE CRAFT OF WRITING
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
So here’s the thing about writing: you have no idea how much you don’t know.
When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I thought all I had to do was sit down and write. Because I loved to write. How hard could it be? You put one word after the other until you have a sentence, and then a paragraph, and then a chapter, and, you get the picture…
So. I had a story, and I sat down and I wrote it. And I was pretty sure it was one helluva story. So when I was finished I asked two writer friends to read it. Which was stressful. What if they didn’t like it? But, really, how could they not?
Now, my writer friends are nice people. I’ll call them what their mothers did: Wendy and Rachel.
Wendy and Rachel volunteered to read my story the first night I met them, at a Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) conference in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania a few years ago. It took months before I sent it to them, because, you know, I wanted it to be perfect. But I finally hit SEND and put it out of my mind. Who am I kidding? I thought about it every day, as any new writer does when she takes that first leap of faith and shares her work.
I was nervous. Who wouldn’t be?
And then I heard from them. And the conversation went something like this:
“You write beautifully.”
“Where’s the story?”
“What do you mean?” I answered. “It’s right there. First, this happens, and then this happens, and, maybe the reader wants to know about this, so I’ll put that in. Did you miss all that?”
“No,” they said, “we didn’t miss it, and you wrote it beautifully. But there really isn’t a beginning and a middle and an end. And where’s the tension? The hook? And how many protagonists do you think you need to tell this story?”
And that was that. I had no story. I just had a bunch of pretty words and pretty sentences that went nowhere.
Wendy and Rachel showed me the error of my ways. Just because I liked to write didn’t mean I could write a book. But, you’ll be happy to know I wrote and rewrote (and rewrote) my story and took writing classes and bought (and read) craft books until my pretty words became a book, to be published soon by Red Adept Publishing.
So here’s to Wendy and Rachel!