Showing posts with label learn to write. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learn to write. Show all posts

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing



In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, TheFreeDicitionary.com mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable, in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to WritersHelper.com, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

Originally published at:
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2015/08/24/being-a-writer-learn-the-craft-of-writing/


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

You can check out Karen’s e-classes through WOW! at:
http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/content-marketing-tools/

And, be sure to connect with Karen at:
Twitter http://twitter.com/KarenCV
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/KarenCioffi/

MORE ON WRITING

Are You Too Busy?

A Dozen Ways to Build Your Confidence as a Writer

How to Use a Timer to be More Productive

Writing and Getting Organized

Publishing Takes More Than Good Intentions





Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Lazy Way To Be A Great Writer



Guest Post By Dr. John Yeoman

Have you ever yearned for just one simple formula that will help your stories glow with magic and resonate with depth?

If everybody knew the secret, everyone would be a best-selling author - or rather, nobody would, because the formula would be a cliché. So it’s important that only you and I know this. Will you give me your solemn word that you will tell no one what I am about to reveal?

I can see your eyes narrow. Your lips are widening in a skeptical smile. What, you don’t trust me? I feel intensely hurt. After all, I don’t have to tell you. I’m simply trying to pass on to you, in good faith, what I have learned from judging more than 3000 entries at my Writers’ Village story contest these past three years.

How come some won cash prizes and others didn’t? Why did many hundreds of stories, otherwise excellent in their craft techniques, fail by a whisker?

The secret is worth the wait.

Trust me, I speak from 42 years of pain as a commercial writer. Yet you’re still not sure about me, are you? I can see you leaning back in your chair, fidgeting. I can almost hear you thinking: ‘Will my ‘secret’ be all puff, no punch line?’

And have you read the secret before?

Of course, you have. The ‘secret’ was in the structure of my last three paragraphs. And you’ve just read those paragraphs!

Please let me explain. A competent story might include sparkling dialogue, strong conflict, well chosen words, firm structure and a satisfying close. Yet still it can fail. Why? It lacks depth. The reader is not emotionally engaged in the ‘hypotext’.

Sometimes called a subtext, the hypotext is the story beneath the story. It’s what’s going on, privately, in the characters’ thoughts and feelings.

A simple formula

A passage with hypotext classically has three steps:

1.    What is spoken or done (Dialogue or Action)
2.    How the key character in the scene thinks and feels about that (their immediate Response)
3.    What other characters think and feel about it at the time.

A competent author will have no trouble with steps one and two. For example:

‘“You’re wrong!” I said. Was I about to be charged with murder? I felt my mouth go dry.’

The narrator’s words have been dramatised by body language, reflection and emotional response. That’s fine, so far as it goes. However, few authors segue into step three: show how other characters in the scene are responding to that incident.

‘“I don’t think so.” Riley leaned forward, thrusting his grubby face within an inch of mine. His breath was a stewpot of garlic. “You left your fingerprints everywhere.”

The rookie behind him opened his mouth, startled. He looked at Riley then silently shook his head at me. My mind went cold.’

That may not be great writing but it has depth. Now we can feel the interplay of emotions in that room and know or suspect every character’s unspoken thoughts, the hypotext behind the surface narrative.

Read any good story that emotionally engages you and it will be underpinned by some variation of that formula. The better the writer, the more creatively they hide it. (Any passage of dialogue by Kathy Reichs is a master class in creative hypotext.)

Use the formula with any point of view (pov)

If your story uses an omniscient narrator, you can dart in and out of your characters’ minds at will. (That said, you might want to conceal their thoughts at times or deliberately mislead the reader.) Then the 3-step formula is a snap:

Action or Dialogue|Emotional Response of Key Character|Emotional Responses of Other Characters

But what if you’re telling the tale from a first-person pov? How can the key character - or reader - plausibly know what another character is thinking? No problem. Let them speculate.

‘Detective Riley was due to retire soon, I’d heard. It would crown his career to lock me away. His eyes gleamed like a cat playing with a sparrow. I was innocent. He knew it. And he didn’t care.’

Or the reader can draw inferences from a character’s actions or body language.

‘Riley lumbered to the window, turned his back on me and gazed at the Denver skyscape with every appearance of contentment. His body shook. He was laughing.’

Keep that 3-step process going throughout your story and the reader will be emotionally engaged whether or not they like your characters. They will feel the emotional tensions in every scene as if they were physically present. And your story will acquire depth.

That’s all there is to it. Truly. Just don’t tell anyone...

Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing, judges the Writers’ Village story competition and is a tutor in creative writing at a UK university. He has been a successful commercial author for 42 years. A wealth of further ideas for writing fiction that sells can be found in his free 14-part story course at:
http://www.writers-village.org/mini-course

Abstract

The article reveals a simple 3-step process that can add instant depth to any scene. While most competent authors know the first two steps, very few understand step 3 - the secret that can turn a mediocre story into a great one.


More on Writing

Writing Goals, Detours, and Opportunity Cost
The Many Faces of Murder
The Lazy Way to Be a Great Writer



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing


In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, TheFreeDicitionary.com mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

The Road to Becoming an Accomplished Writer

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable, in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to WritersHelper.com, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

~~~~~~~~~~
More on Writing

Writing Means Commitment
So, You Want to be a Writer
Improve Your Writing – Know About Sentences



Monday, July 5, 2010

What does it Mean to Write Vivid Descriptions?


When I first started writing, I had the hardest time writing vivid descriptions. Instead of pulling the reader into my scene, I would tell them what was happening with the least amount of words possible. However, I learned quickly that it is the writer’s job to provide a vicarious experience for your reader. This does not mean you need to bombard your reader with too many details, but to gradually draw them into your story with active descriptions that make them feel as if they are right there with the main character.
By stimulating your reader’s imagination with vivid and clear descriptions, you not only make stories come alive, but more memorable. Using concrete and specific details help paint a picture for your reader and you can do this by carefully choosing the right words to describe something, which makes your reader use all five senses. Not only can they imagine what is happening, but they can also feel, smell, and hear what they read.
Okay, so how did I learn to do this? One way I learned, was by my ICL instructor pointing out all my flaws with details. The other way I learned was by buying Picture Writing, by Anastasia Suen. If you have not read this book, I strongly suggest you do if you have trouble with too many details or not enough description. What is great about this book is Anastasia not only covers fiction writing, but also nonfiction and poetry as well.
I learned from Anastasia that picture writing using the whole brain. That means not just your creative half. Wow, I thought, this is great news. I tend to use my local side more than my creative side. Therefore, this means there was hope for my writing. I’m happy to say between my ICL course and Anastasia’s book, I am much better about vivid descriptions, so here are a few things to keep in mind when write.
  1. Avoid abstract and general words. Don't just say a girl is beautiful. Instead, describe how she looks, walks, moves her body, etc.
  2. When using description, make sure to use as many of the five senses—touch, sound, taste, sight, and scent—to help stimulate your reader’s imagination.
  3. Use words that spark emotion. In Anastasia’s book, Picture Writing she talks about what editors what to see. She says, “What makes readers turn the page is an emotional connection to the characters in the story. Reader’s aren’t’ reading fiction for facts or information.”
  4. Give life to inanimate objects, abstracts, or animals. By giving human characteristics, a reader can relate better to what you are trying to show them.
  5. Use onomatopoetic words. These words imitate the sound they describe. An example would be: buzzing for a bee or fly. Another would be: bang for a hammer or something falling to the floor.
  6. Use comparisons or contrasts. This is great tool for something foreign or not common to a reader. For example, “a calamansi fruit tastes like an orange, but is less sweet and more sour.”
These simple suggestions have really helped me and I am sure they will help you. Just remember to use fresh words in your descriptions. Forget about writing, "They walked slowly to the park." Instead, think about just how slowly did they walk? Did they trudge? Did they drag they feet? Remember, if you want your reader to experience the same things you've experienced - or experience something you've imagined - write and describe it well.
VS Grenier, Award-winning Author & Editor
www.vsgrenier.com

The Writing Mama 

How to Write Vivid Scenes, Part I, by Chris Eboch

Prolific children's and adult author, Chris Eboch Author/editor Chris Eboch has her foot in two worlds: children’s literature, as Chris ...