A classic book

Don’t you love a book that you can still discuss years after you first read it?

A classic can be one which gave you a new way of seeing an issue, an aspect of life, love or happiness. It may have changed your life forever.

A book you can read over and over again without ever getting bored.

A book you can argue about for years, each with your own interpretation, opinion and viewpoint over meaning, the best alternative ending, why a character acted a certain way and so on.

A book you can recommend to everyone you meet and which can mean as much to them for either the same or another reason as yours.

A great story

Life is outrageous. Life is unbelievable. Life is drudgery. Life can be all of those things and more.
Story is the outrageous and unbelievable without the drudgery, without the breakfast cereal, the ‘hello, how are you this morning,’ and ‘how does your garden grow?’ unless, of course, the cereal is laced with arsenic, the hello is from a serial killer or the garden hides a body. In other words, unless they are vital to the telling of your story.
Keep your story moving. Match the pace to the story. Don’t slow it with unnecessary words, beautiful though they may be, if they don’t progress the story, they don’t belong in it.

Strip every sentence

A great writer is that way by intention. Each word is carefully selected to create just the right mood and atmosphere. Clarity and ambiguity are never left to chance but are by deliberate choice.

Weed out the unnecessary, the showy, the waffling and the cutesy words and phrases which cloud the issue skies and leave only the best.

Make every word earn its place in your manuscript, preferably with more than one reason for its particular use over another, more general, less specific word. The choice of sound, sense and sensitivity are chosen with the reader in mind rather than the writer. Less show, more beauty.


Listen to what you write

One of the easiest and most effective revision methods must be to read your words aloud. Should you stumble over the words, if they don’t have a pleasing rhythm, cadence and flow, mark them and go back to them.

Anywhere there is an awkward clunkiness, where the mood of the words is not as you intended, if they don’t touch the heart as you envisioned when you drafted them, go back and look at them with a critical eye rewording the passage.

Develop a more sensitive ear by reading great writing, listening to the words and the music they create in your mind.

For more information: https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/poetry/writing-rhythm/

Words are alive

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.