It is noble

Had you thought of writing, as a noble occupation? I know that when I read I find that escape, those moments of delight and forgetfulness. I appreciate the plotting, planning, writing, rewriting, editing and all the other hours of work that go into publishing a book. So thanks to all the hardworking, underpaid writers and authors out there for your nobility.

How can we as readers show our appreciation for the hard work of our favourite authors?

  • Purchase books through proper channels rather than from dodgy sites. Ensure your favourite authors are paid for their hard work.
  • Spread the word when you enjoy a book by any means you can. Talk about it. Word of mouth goes a long way toward increasing sales.
  • Buy books as gifts for people who might enjoy them.
  • If nothing else, give your favourite books five stars or write a book review where you purchase them, on Goodreads, your blog…
  • Share your delight on your favourite social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…
  • Teach your children the joy of reading and an appreciation for this nobility.

In the gray areas

Issues are rarely black and white. It’s been said that there are always at least two or three versions of any incident: your version, my version, and the truth. Yes, maybe that’s not always the case but it illustrates the fact that we don’t always look at issues from all sides.

One of my alltime favourite books about an important issue is Richard North Patterson’s “Balance of Power” which explores the US gun control issue from just about every side of the issue: the shooters, the family of the victim, the sellers, the buyers, the politicians…

Understanding our fellow humans and their viewpoints is important, whether we agree with them or not. There, in the gray area, is where we often find our best story.

Fictional daydreams

We have all woken in the middle of a dream for some reason and snuggle back, trying to return to your dream. It’s very rare that you are able to return to the dream, well, at least for me.

This is exactly what your editor means when they warn that you can ‘drop your reader out of the story’. In the worst case scenario, your reader may be an acquiring editor who never reads any further. Or it may be a reader who purchased your book who may give it up and never buy another of yours.

What can drop a reader out of your story? Your words may be repetitive,
awkward or klunky, there may be an error of grammar, a plot hole or any of a multitude of other things, some of which may be entirely subjective in the mind of the reader.

What can you do about it? Consider your editor’s comments, polish it to the best of your ability and let it go. Write the best story you can and trust that your reader descends into that fictional daydream.

Sweet Solitude

How do you find solitude in the middle of a crowd? On a train, on a bus, at an event that has lost your interest? Take out your favourite book!

I recently listened to “Romeo and Juliet: A Novel” by David Hewson, narrated or performed by Richard Armitage. In an interview about the book, they spoke about the German expression Kopfkino, literally “cinema in the head.” What a fitting way of expressing what happens when one reads, or listens to a reading or performance of a book.

Nobody but you knows what goes on in your head. Even if you wanted to, even though you can try to express it, it’s rare that you could actually do so. There, in your head, you are alone with your thoughts and the images you see.

Almost as good as writing, seeing a new story for the first time, immersing oneself into a new world, literally making it up as you go. Populating your new world with your own characters.

Sweet solitude.

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.