…And I am not talking about the Witch Craft, either, although, there may be some elements that are similar. I am talking about the craft of Writing. This, of course, is my favorite topic, aside from marriage and love… (not necessarily in that order).
But back to the Craft…MY craft. Contrary to what people believe, I truly believe that a certain amount of natural talent is innate in a true writer. That is, one who uses language as though it were being made love to, as though language was a soft and erotic pillow of sensuality in the writer’s hand and heart. There is a certain amount of innate talent in some writers, and I don’t care what anyone says, it cannot be bought or manufactured. But like with anything else, we all would like to believe that we ALL have this, with a little practice. I don’t think it takes practice to be that good. I will say, however, it takes practice to be a pretty good writer.
It is NEVER simply an easy task to write, whether or not you are a good grammarist, punctuator, or stylist, it still takes consistent, tenacious, editorial and creative energy to FINISH storytelling in written form, even in verbal form, it takes not only talent but practice and finesse. So writing all the more, takes work. It is not all glamour as some would wish to believe.
So I took it upon myself to deliberate FIVE wholly necessary items of activity one must accomplish before even GETTING to the actual and natural flow of writing.
You must be somewhat of a good speller, puntuator, and grammarist, otherwise, how will you be able to be understood in language, or more to the point: how will you even understand what you wrote when you come back next month? Believe me, you need to have a certain amount of clarity. Style comes later, but without clarity, you will be paying dearly someone who has this ability to hone the technical aspects of your writing, whatever kind of writing it may be. I will tell you, if you plan to write essays or be an academician, you must have this figured out in advance. There is nothing like a writer without clarity, to be known as one who cannot write. But if you plan on becoming a fiction writer, okay then: there are plenty of editors out there that will gladly take your money and chat endlessly about what the heck you are trying to say, and how to say it. However, I am noticing a rise in even EDITORS needing editors. THAT is pretty scary. This is why you find a lot of errors even in the best of books, as far as technicalities are concerned. However, a book that is lost to itself on the first few pages is one that is usually burned or duried at the end of the day. I have heard “writers” (what they call themselves) say: “who cares? As long as they buy my book, I don’t care what they do with it.” Believe me, it’ll be the ONLY book of theirs that will ever get bought by that reader, and adding enough readers up to this phenomena (hopefully) will remove that pseudo writer before the end of his havoc. At LEAST if you are somewhat decent in presenting technical and structural clarity, you can minimize sorrow to those and to yourself, and present your work with a little pride, instead of prejudice.
Once you consider the technical aspects and your clarity–and here we will find some controversy–many very good writers will tell you this is part of the technical, but I do not concede. STYLE is your own voice. Style is my personality, my voice, my spirit. MY voice is very personal. I write as I speak (almost), and what I like to do is what I’m doing here. I capitalize for emphasis in tone; tone can be an aspect of style, albeit tone fits into a couple other categories. I like to emphasize things by capitalizing them in formats, like: teaching a lesson on something, or writing a letter to someone, or publicizing my passion about a certain thing that affects us all. In fiction, I would do this sparingly. But, I do it, still. My characters (especially female protagonists) have a tendancy to sound a little like me, and when they get overwhelmed, angry, passionate, or joyous, they like to scream a word or two, or three. Hence, the capitalized words. Style then, is a part of YOU. But, on the other hand, style does not mean you can take liberties selfishly, and write ONLY for yourself, and portray for YOU alone the way you wish to speak; forget the rest of the world! No. Which leads me to the third MUST.
If you plan on writing for others–and remember that is what you are doing: you are writing for someone to read what you are thinking, saying, or how you feel about the world, or how you interpret the world–you must remember to treat your readers with TRUE love and care, and kindness. I know of writers that will say: “well, I write for myself, and if anyone wants to read it, go for it. Anyone else, who doesn’t understand or doesn’t like my style can go f….fly a kite.” How sad that writers have no appreciation for those who give their time and energy to listen, to read, to understand another’s perspective. I want someone to understand me, or what I have to say. So, I use the written language as best I can, considering my own style, yes, but also, considering the audience I plan to reach with my message, my story, or whatever I am writing. I want them to understand where I came from, and why I see things as I do. This is the beauty of language and those who use it. We can all make ourselves understood technically, but it takes a bit more work on the reader’s (and the writer’s) part to decipher the message; the meaning between the lines. And this is where we can certainly say that the writer is not just a writer, but an Artist, and most likely the better understood, and the better the ability to change a reader by their message, the truer the writer IS an ARTIST. Readers are the truth of what matters; if any writer or artist or ANYone tells you different, they are lying, they just don’t like rejection–no one really does, but they might be protecting their sensitivities (I know: I’ve done it myself). A writer should LOVE their audience, yes. I use the strong word “LOVE” because it is those we love that we wish most to understand us. A true artist wants to be not only known but understood. Storymaking is innate in all of us, so it could be argued that we ALL have that “gift,” to write. But the artist writes the truth as it is known only to that writer/artist, and how it is seen by that writer/artist. I refuse to use he or her; because I don’t want the gender to get in the way of the spiritual aspect of the human. For artistry is spiritual, and not flesh. Therefore it is innate.
Finally, it is important that you understand certain aspects of the language in which you use, to effect a broad spectrum of time as the classics or the great writers of all time, if that is the goal. Therefore, RESEARCH is a MUST! I believe that any writer worth their salt, wants to affect as large a body of readers and human beings as possible, because to write painstakingly for hours upon hours, and days upon days, is a lot of love shown to others. So one must remember, that as Artists, we must ourselves do research, if we intend on creating an object of verisimilitude. That is, we must consider what we are talking about, the location and time period of the story’s slice of life, and the beings who we are portraying our story; they have their way of speaking, behaving, living. There is a way in which humans spoke in certain time periods, different than we speak today, and there are certain parochial conventions of speech that occur in only certain areas of a story’s town or country, or in a certain profession or place of leisure. I have many a time, found myself wanting to tell a story so badly, that I would like to skip this part of my work. However, we ought to consider (AND LOVE) our readers enough to believe they are intelligent enough, and if they are not, they WANT to become intelligent enough, to understand the making of the story in its totality. When you love someone, you give them your best, and if you love your audience, you will make your story as authentic and clear and sensitive to readers as possible… with some exception… which brings me to my last MUST.
What the heck IS GENRE, anyway? Google’s dictionary defines genre as: “a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.” But to a Writer and an Artist, it is much more than that. A good assessment on what genre means I have found in a writer’s helper site, click here, if you need to understand it better. When you are considering a story to tell, it is up to YOU, the writer, to decide in what format or TYPE of presentation in which this task will be accomplished. We might ask ourselves, do I want my story to appear like an every day life of a person, in an every day life as mine, but maybe in the time of Queen Elizabeth? Or, maybe: I want to tell a story that makes no realistic sense, only the characters appear somewhat like humans because they are talking and thinking, but they are flying also, and they can leave this planet to go to another, and so on and so forth… There are TYPES of writing, GENRES that we as writers use, to transmit our stories, our thoughts, our ways of believing, feeling, wondering. We call these types genres because they create a set of rules that readers can rely on to understand that particular type of story; each genre has a set of rules a writer is expected to use, in order for the publishing world, or even the audiences to recognize why certain aspects of the story may or may not be foreign, or unusual, or even discomforting. For example, who would write a romance novel, and not have romance in it! Who would write Science Fiction without some form of science in it? There are rules to each genre and the genre in which you decide to transmit your story should be researched, YES! We hear that word again.
If you take these five things and delve deeper into each one, you will find a host of OTHER technicalities, mentionables, literary connotations, devices, various tools, forms and frivolities. THIS is what it means to be a writer. If you plan on writing just for no reason at all, or maybe because you haven’t a job right now, and you think this could be cool–maybe you’re right. But as I said there is a BIG difference between being a WRITER, and being an ARTIST. I prefer for myself, to be an ARTIST. It is because I love you more than you can imagine.