Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WRITING ON THE STONE

It’s all Greek to me, no wait … Is it Vikingish? Of course the Vikings knew how to interpret their writing, but I haven’t a clue. I took this picture at the Viking Museum (grounds) in Ribe, Denmark. (I heard it from a good source that the Viking Chieftan is explaining the elements of writing to his clan.)
This is just a little example that it doesn’t matter how good the directions are if you can’t read them. With today’s technology, we can sometimes be overwhelmed with good information. And, even though it might all be good, it’s seldom the same, and we have to decide which is best and what pertains to us and our situation.
It’s the same with writing.
We want to write something, but what? How do we go about it? The answer to these questions are as different as our various situations. One person’s path to good writing is not the same as another person’s. We’re all different.
One thing that is widely recommended is to attend writer’s conferences. Here lies another problem. So many classes, so little time, and then it’s always information overload. How to process all that great information? I’ve never been very good at that.
It has taken years of attending conferences and hearing similar things told over and over again for it to finally sift down into my brain. Of course if I had a Master's Degree in English, I'd have learned a lot of this in school. Nonetheless, conferences put people together who have the same goal and who have similar experiences. Everyone's experiences and excitement charge the air with synergy. WE CAN WRITE! WE WILL WRITE! Published or not, WE ARE AUTHORS!
One of the best classes I took at last May’s LDStorymakers Conference was Tristi Pinkston’s class on blogging. I was able to come home and immediately apply what I’d learned to my blog (although it is still a work in progress).
Another really good help to my writing this year was through attending the ANWA writer’s conference in Phoenix this past February. Agent Kelly Mortimer gave a huge handout of things agents and editors hate to see in writing. This list has helped me immensely because I don't have to depend on my memory.

My ANWA writer's group also helps because they give me help a little at a time. I can go back to my story and utilize their suggestions right away.

So, what are the foundations for a good story? Plot; the taking of a MAIN CHARACTER through a myriad of activities, experiencing life full on, and coming through the story a better person and having achieved his/her goal. Structure goes hand in hand with plot, because a story can have all the elements of plot and still miss the mark if it isn't structured well. There should be a hook at the beginning of each chapter, a cliff-hanger at the end of each chapter, a character arc, a black moment where the MC thinks all is lost, and then the rainbow at the end.
The Vikings forged their way through history. We can too. Just like the picture below shows the foundational stones for several large Viking buildings, we need our foundation (for anything) before we can build on it.

2 comments:

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Great post. It always takes me a long time to process everything I learn about at writer's conferences. I try to take really good notes, though, and I love handouts like you do. :)

I love your pics! I hope I can visit Denmark someday. It looks beautiful.

Tina Scott, the writing artist said...

My problem with notes is that while I'm writing one thing, the presenter is saying something else. I get home and only have half the information. It's a problem of mine.