A Scripted Maze

perils with writing and whatnot

How Do They Do It? How is It Done?

It wasn’t until I began to read each and every day that I started thinking seriously about writing. Once I decided that I want to do something substantial with my writing, I began to look at the material I was reading in a different perspective. No, I didn’t start looking for errors per se, although I do see them. I’ll leave the error corrections up to my mom. (Are most moms critical like mine?) But I did start looking at the format of what I read and the style the authors chose.

When I read, I’ve been studying how a writer starts his or her story. Many start with the beginning of the tale, but there are those who start in the middle, or even the end, and go to the beginning in the middle section of the story. Those writers who don’t start at the beginning intrigue me.

How do they know where they should start so that they pulling in the reader’s attention and keep it? Sure, you grab the reader’s interest just by writing something like, “Now that I’m dead, what am I supposed to do?” Yep, it draws that attention. But will the author be able to keep that interest going through the entire story? The reader may be in for a letdown. If that happens, the story is more likely to be put down collecting dust before the last page is read.

How the written material is presented makes a big difference. No, I don’t know this from my own experience (as if you couldn’t figure that out). I took a free course at the University of Denver that attempted to teach me about “written presence” in journalism. I can only assume that these lessons applied to all types of writing.

The “Snowflake Method” seems to be popular in the realm of writing now. I tried it once. That was enough. I must be too conventional or something. A blogger I know (I can’t remember which one) said that doing the synopsis first would help those of us who are pantsers. I tried that too. Although, now that I think about it, the ‘snowflake method’ may help with the synopsis.

So far, I have read only a few books that I’ve found to be sleepers despite the terrific beginning the story has had. I marvel at the authors who seem to find it relatively easy to keep the reader’s attention. How would I go about learning from these creative geniuses? I’m reading their books, studying and dissecting their craft. Yet, trying to apply their techniques to what I write is unachievable. At least, that’s the way it looks from my vantage point.

Many of the authors whose books I’ve read have a unique style to the way they approach their readers in their stories. This is something else I seem to have difficulty with. How is it that they can make me feel that they are right there with me, reading their tale to me? I can tell you that it isn’t because all of them write in first person, because not all do that. Is it that they read their stories aloud before having them published? Well, some do, but not all. Even so, does that have anything to do with the intense attentiveness they draw from me? I would say no. I know that there are writers who would browbeat me for this opinion though. They’d probably say something along the lines of “If when you read it, it’s boring to you, it’ll be boring for the reader.” No duh! The thing is I read with my mouth closed. I think most readers do. Reading aloud still has its place though. The eye-to-mouth connection helps point out errors that would never be found otherwise.

So, I still have these two questions tumbling inside my pea-brain. How Do They Do It? How is It Done? Chances are there isn’t any set formula. There’s probably not even an open-end guide to help with these questions.
Here I am going by my own experience.

There are days when what I write or type falls into place like putting on a goatskin glove. It all fits so wonderfully. Other days nothing I write seems to jive no matter what I do. It’s the old putting to round peg into the square hole concept. Or is it the square peg into the round hole? Whatever — it just isn’t going to work.

Is there any possibility that one of you can answer these questions?

 

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10 comments on “How Do They Do It? How is It Done?

  1. kellyfbarr
    2014/10/08

    So nice to see you posting again. I have struggled with this issue as well, and I put some time into studying. I have always been a “pantser”, but recently read “Outline Your Story” by K.M. Weiland, available fairly cheaply as an ebook. I have found that to be filled with great ideas, tips and suggestions. I have since begun a new story idea and it seems to be going better than most of my previous ones.

    Like

    • Glynis Jolly
      2014/10/11

      I had a subscription to K.M. Weiland’s blog but I wasn’t getting much out of it anymore. I had taken some courses ay Writer’s Digest through snail mail and what Weiland was posting was a repeat for me.

      Like

  2. Like you, Glynis, I wish I was one of those people who could sit down to write a novel and the words just flowed out of me as they seem to do for some people… Those lucky few whose first books are huge successes and become best sellers even though they’ve never written anything before. I think some people are just born with that innate talent, the rest of us work and work at it. Don’t give up. You’ll eventually find your process that’s suits yo

    Like

    • Glynis Jolly
      2014/10/07

      I wonder if writing books is anything like writing music. The reason I wonder is there are many one-hit wonders in music and most didn’t have to try that hard for that one popular song. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder despite my advanced age. I’m hoping I can get at least five books under my belt before I go to the happy hunting ground. 😀

      Like

  3. Finding one’s process can be quite the trying task. Then novel I’ve been drafting alternates time periods every other chapter, which probably wasn’t the best choice for my first book. All we can do is keep trying various approaches in order to discover what best suits us as writers.

    The application of technique always trips me up, but I think it’s better to be a writer aware of that than not. You’re doing fine and extremely self-aware.

    Like

    • Glynis Jolly
      2014/10/07

      It’s time to give you inspiration. I know an author who’s first book was like what you’re doing, alternate times every other chapter. Her name is Carlyn Matthews. The book is Transforming Pandora. She’s just released her second book, Squaring Circles. You can find her at Amazon.

      Thank you for the vote of confidence. Often my lack of self-confidence/esteem gets in the way of the progress I want to make.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. peakperspective
    2014/10/04

    I had a wonderfully interesting (and enlightening) conversation with my 16 year old son yesterday when talking about writing in general and my writing specifically. We were discussing technique and voice. I’m a firm believer that there are a million ways to skin a cat–meaning, finding the writing process that fits best with you and the story you want to tell or the information you want to convey is a many, many year long process of trial and error. But it comes. My son said that the thing that draws him to my writing most of all is the fact that from the moment he begins to read something I’ve written, it feels as if I’m speaking–not writing.
    Firstly, I was gobsmacked that he actually read any of my work. Secondly, I know he’s not a fan of reading, but being sixteen, hearing my voice is something that typically falls pretty low on the list of things he loves. So I think it might, in truth, take him back to the days of my “storytelling” at bedtime.
    Finding that “storytelling” voice is a treasure hunt that is incredibly challenging, but wonderfully fulfilling. Don’t give up. Keep working at it, and keep asking for feedback. The framework will start to appear bit by bit. And it will grow comfortable. Like those goatskin gloves. A perfect fit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glynis Jolly
      2014/10/04

      Thank you for the encouragement. I haven’t given up. I’m a stubborn soul. I know that ‘my’ voice is there somewhere just waiting for me to bring it out from under the rubble. 😉

      Like

  5. michaelulinedwards
    2014/10/03

    1. Don’t believe anything your mother says.
    2. If you can tell a joke, you can tell a story.
    3. They say know what you write (write your experiences). If you have a diary with entries of five years – if you read the entries – the entry today strikes you the same as the entry five years ago,
    A writer asks a question: Why? Answer that question and write it out. That is a story with a character and supposedly it is about your own experiences.
    NOTE: A writer is not limited to the diary entries, their order and who is in them. You can compress or lengthen them: Five weeks or ten years. You may toss in a girl, and how that went. Perhaps a murder is appropriate.
    OBSERVE: If your diary entries today strike you differently than one made five years ago, the process is the same. WHY? etc.

    Like

    • Glynis Jolly
      2014/10/04

      I especially like that first one. The problem is though that 9 1/2 times out of 10 she’s right. It’s infuriating. I don’t have a dairy anymore. I haven’t had one since I was in junior high school. I do, however, get some unique ideas from real life. 😛

      Like

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This entry was posted on 2014/10/03 by in whatnot about writing and tagged , , , , .

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