Emerson was reportedly speaking of Michel de Montaigne, a sixteenth-century Frenchman and his literary idol. “The sincerity and marrow of the man reaches to his sentences. I know not anywhere the book that seems less written. It is the language of conversation transferred to a book. Cut these words, and they would bleed; they are vascular and alive. One has the same pleasure in it that we have in listening to the necessary speech of men about their work, when any unusual circumstance give momentary importance to the dialogue.”
A great writer appears on the page in a voice as individual and distinctive as his or her thoughts. Relax into your voice. Be your unique self, open your heart and let your voice shine.
Have you ever become so immersed in a book that you became oblivious to everything else? Has a story grabbed you and not let go until you got to ‘The End’? Reality recedes when you dive deep enough to live in a story world, hearing, seeing, feeling and smelling it as if it is happening to you. Storytelling like this will bring readers back to your books.
Especially in romantic fiction, deepening point of view is effective for pulling your reader so far in that they feel as if they experience the story. Look for anything which could obscure or put distance between the reader and the story.
Many writers struggle against perfectionism. In previous posts we discussed omitting extra words, editing for clarity. Simple clarity is not in the least easy to achieve. It never has been. As far back as 1837 writer and poet Thomas Hood quoted “the easiest reading is damned hard writing”.
We know that no human is perfect. Neither can anybody be ‘good’ all the time. Yet we often make the mistake of expecting perfection in our writing. The number of articles devoted to defeating perfectionist tendencies toward gives us a clue as to the extent of the struggle. All anyone can do is their best and to strive to improve. At some time we have to say enough and submit.
This quote reminds me of an elderly friend who complained to me about a book she had read. Although she really enjoyed the story, she doesn’t like reading certain scenes. Yes, those scenes. However, when she skipped them, she found that she had missed something crucial and had to backtrack and read them.
From her description of the plot, I recognised it as a book written by an author friend of mine. However much as I sympathised with my elderly friend for having to read the scenes she had no desire to, I had to congratulate my author friend who did her job well.
Well crafted stories draw in the reader. The best stories don’t let go until they are done. As a reader, you most likely remember a story you wanted to dive deep and stay there through the night and into the next day until you finished. Then, the moment you got to “the end”, you wished you had not read so fast.
It always amazes me when the 26 letters of the English alphabet combine to communicate not just data and ideas but complete, compelling stories which move the heart, the emotions, and speak soul to soul.