Writing Forever

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I know you know this, so I guess there’s not much point to telling you about it. But, well, there it is, isn’t it?

I’ve been hating on my book, DROPPINGTON PLACE. Okay, well, not on the book itself, but on the writing of it. Some days it’s a blast, and the words flow like sweet cherry wine. The next day comes the roadblock, the stumbling block, the block of ice that freezes our soul and stalls us just plain dead in our tracks. I hate that block, too.

In my story, the characters explore a surrealistic world made entirely of paper. Their path takes them down, well, a path. So, how do we walk down this path?

Walking, and walking, and walking becomes so dull that even I can’t stand to write it.

Instead of walking and walking, the camera drifts up into the sky and looks down on them, telling us where they’ve been and what they’ve seen.

And THAT, my writer friend, is exactly where the roadblock landed. Flooomph, like a big rock in the highway to Interesting Storyland, we stepped out of the lives of the characters, the story became wooden and dull, and no fun to write. And, if you don’t have fun writing a piece, however is your reader going to enjoy it?

Ding-dong. Hello, Mr. Dimwit? Your brain is calling.

It’s a scene, of course. The answer is to place scenes along the path. Scenes that move the story forward even as they move the characters down the road. Cool, huh?

Biggity-big-big-bigger question.

Why do this? Why do you care about great paragraphs, and storylines, and why is it so important for you to put your thoughts on paper?

Why? Why must you publish your book? If writing is so important to you, why don’t you just write and write and let it go at that.

Okay, so maybe it’s not the writing, is it? It’s the reading.

You write your ideas and stories so that others will enjoy, will learn, will see the world in a new way. Isn’t that so?

So, here’s the rub: if you are so concerned about your reader seeing the world in a new way as a result of your work, why put your name on it? Okay, so it’s not just the reading. It’s the fame.

Before we go too far into our writer’s tools and processes, let us get this straight:

You and I are reaching for the brass ring of immortality.

Think about Shakespeare, a household word. Shakespearian theater. It defines a whole category of acting, of playwriting, of presentation. Why isn’t that you?

It could be. If your book is successful, if you find the right combination of story and character, you, my dear reader friend, could be the next Shakespeare, your name whispered and hailed and venerated for generations to come.

That’s immortality for us.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?

Writing is a business. Success is not measured by finished works. It’s measured by works sold. Sold. Sounds bad, but it is the business.

Sell a million books and you’re doing good. Sell a million books a year and you’re on your way. Sell a million books a year and get a movie deal, and household wordism isn’t far away.

Isn’t that what you want? That’s what I want. I don’t think it will happen, but that doesn’t make me want it any less, or make me work any less hard in trying to get there.

So, go finish your book. Write well. I’m finishing mine. Maybe you’ll read it – maybe I’ll read yours. Maybe yours is so good that Disney is dialing the phone this very instant to make you the next Stephen King.

Hey, it could happen! Immortality could be that close. I’m sitting by the phone.

Eliminating Was

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Writing for the now, writing with action and verve, can be a challenge. Lets’s try that again: it can be tough to write good action sentences. Passive sentences certainly have their place in expressive, contemplative and descriptive passages. But they can spell death for an action scene.

Lothar was waiting behind the door, anxiously clutching the hatchet. VS Lothar anxiously clutched the hatchet on the other side of the door.

The second sentence implies action and shifts the focus to Lothar, where the first sentence describes what was on the other side of the door.

I issued this challenge to myself in the reworking of Phineas : eliminate the word “was”.

To accomplish it, I used Word’s Find feature to examine each instance of the word and come up with a better alternative. The word absolutely fits in some circumstances, such as in dialog. But, in most cases, a better word choice, and perhaps a more expressive sentence structure, can usually be found. I mean, you can usually find a better word choice!

Was is a pervasive word that can drop an anchor on your action passage.