Monday, October 26, 2020

When a Simple Story Stops Being Simple

 A few times a year, I receive an email from someone who has read one or more of my writing articles.  This person is just getting started with her writing, and she suddenly realizes that writing that story isn’t quite as easy as she thought.

All those professional writers she loves have created stories that seem so simple on the surface but are not so simple when the new writer starts to see all the elements of craft involved and how each must do certain things perfectly so that the story can be told correctly.  

Writing dialogue, creating plot, constructing sentences and paragraphs that pull the reader in and doesn’t confuse him, breathing life into characters, and all the other elements of telling a good story become so overwhelming a task that the new writer panics and sends me a call for help asking how she can become a stronger writer.

Here’s what I always tell this person.

I can't wave the magic wand of a few words of advice over you and make you a stronger writer, but here are a few things I can suggest to help you begin to make yourself a stronger writer.  

Read what you want to write.  Study your favorite writers to see how they do what they do.

Find good writing teachers to help you with the basics of writing.  Read books on writing.  Find other writers and critique each other.

Sit down at the computer and write and write.  If you want to be a professional writer in a traditional market, be prepared to be sitting there for years before you can start selling your work.

And, most importantly, enjoy the writing.  If there is no joy in the journey, the destination isn't worth it.

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