On writing (was Re: Chapter 3)
>From: "Iman & Hibbah" <iman_hibbah@...>I'd rather not read the same book more than 5 times. Try to read across the
>I'm great reader! I read every book I lay my hands on at least 20 times,
>so I have an idea about how writers use the verbs, adjectives, etc. I guess
>I have been trying to use some of the ideas I read in books in my fic. It
>isn't easy though. (sigh)
different geners out there.
Nothing is easy.. It's you love for it that make you feel that way. Just
have patience and practice a lot and you will get right, time after time. I
know that writing is something hard to do, I've a firsthand experience into
Patience makes a woman beautiful in middle age.
- Elliot Paul
Patience means self-suffering.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Pateince is two: pateince on what you hate and pateince on what you love.
- Ali Bin Abi-Taleb
If you practice enough and have pateince, you may discover the hidden talent
within. Do not destroy that now by such unreasonable alibis. Be optimistic
rather than cycinal.
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes
seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its
- Eric Hoffer
Here, if you don't mind, some good notes on writing.. I got those from one
Form, Depth and Substance
Do you have a great story that is trying to push out of you but you just
don�t know where to start? Or, have you started it several times but in
doing so, feel it does not have the substance or quality that it demands? Is
it possible that you are starting a race you may not have the training for?
Well, let�s get training then. In this first addition of the For Authors
newsletter, I am continuing with a three part series discussing form, depth
and substance to help you "flesh out" that story urgently pressing to be
Writing is an expression of art that is carved out with the use of words
rather than stone and chisel or canvas and paintbrush. Yet, much of the
basic techniques used to develop one can be effectively applied to the
other. Even artists must first learn to draw before they can begin a
masterpiece. After mastering shapes and forms, the artist must learn to give
his art depth. This is accomplished by drawing only the shadows, or the
negative space of an object rather than just the outline. How can this
concept be applied to writing? Think of your characters and go back and look
at some of your older writing. Did you merely define your characters by
form, only outlining their personalities, or did you give them depth? Allow
me to demonstrate:
form only: Johnny was a rebel. He hated everything and everyone and he
wanted the world to know it.
depth and form: Johnny sauntered through the door and looked around,
skulking. Licking his lips, he spied the beer cooler and made for it,
snatching the cigarette from behind his ear and lighting it up. After making
his selection and ignoring the clerk who was persistent in asserting that
smoking was not allowed, he slammed a six-pack down on counter and threw out
some cash. Then, after blowing a thick puff of bluish smoke in the
distressed clerk�s face, gruffly and directly said only one thing, meaning
it as a request.
"Marlboro Reds", he growled.
Note that nowhere in the latter description did I tell you anything
personally about Johnny, but rather I showed you. Instead of outlining his
characteristics, I highlighted his personality using his behavior as he
interacted with other characters and objects. In art they call this the use
of lights and darks. When applied to writing, the concept seems somehow
exciting, doesn�t it?
Exercise about Substance:
This exercise is more of a cognitive one. Imagine now how your characters
will behave with one another and the objects of your story. Try not to
describe them, instead allow them to describe themselves to you by how they
would behave and react. Scribble down any ideas that you get not worrying
about spelling or grammar. You might want to start by taking one character
and moving him/her down your list of characters and objects asking yourself
what his/her disposition would be with each. Again, when you get an idea
write it down.
Once your characters are well acquainted with one another and you have a
clear idea of their contributions to your story, prepare yourselves, for
next time we will discuss substance and begin you to flesh out your story.
- Victor S.
The clock just tick-tock...
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