Follow by Email

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Keep Calm and Write On

I've been getting back into my writing in a big way. I have a couple of ladies to critique with. I have been doing character bios and character interviews and filling a notebook full of important stuff! Very important stuff... but most importantly I've been writing.

Its a good feeling.

Lately, I've been pouring over old journals and old writing notebooks. Its crazy to see how far my writing has come in the last ten years, and insane to see how far (or not) I've come in my personal life. Its kinda disconcerting to see that I've been struggling with the same issues for most of my life, but encouraging to realize that I keep on ticking, and I'm constantly looking for and reaching for change. I never say ok, this is just the way it is, Its over for me.

But in regards to writing, its making me realize how much I love the art of the written word. When I first starting believing that I could be a writer, I took classes, I read books on how to write, and I devoured fiction. My notebooks are full of quotes, words and their definitions  that I had come across and didn't know.

I have page after page of timed writing to writing prompts that may never become anything. But they were so exploratory, so  "I'm going to just start and see where I end up."

Blind Faith.

Then there are passages of character descriptions, scenes, action. I believe at one time I even watched an episode of a television show and pinpointed each time I noticed a plot point, graphed the way they used Aristotle's incline. There are passages where I just examined dialogue, taking out every tagline and every description, just writing the dialogue.

I eavesdropped on people at restaurants, examining the way they moved, how they emphasized points, how they listened. Tried to write their expressions. Were they bored? happy? sad? angry? How did I know? And how could I describe it without saying, "This person was bored/ happy/ sad/angry.

I studied writing and bringing characters to life.

I loved how passionate I was about learning everything there was to know about writing. I'm still SO passionate about writing that I changed my career plan so that I could be around it as much as possible.

I wrote all that to segue into a passage that I found in my notebook. I think it impressed me so much because I'm doing so much character work. And if you're going to study other writers, you might as well study the greats.

This passage is from Nora Robert's Heaven and Earth.

Her body was as lean and toned as a young tigers. She took pride in it, in her control of it. As she bent from the waist, the ski cap that she'd tugged on fell to the floor and her hair, the color of varnished oak, tumbled free.

She wore it long because it didn't require regular trims and styling that way. It was just another type of control. Her eyes were a sharp bottle green. When she was in the mood she might fuss with mascara and eyeliner. After considerable debate she'd decided that her eyes were the best part of a face made up of mismatched features and angular lines.

She had a slight overbite because she'd despised her retainer, and she had the wide forehead and nearly horizontal dark eyebrows of the Ripley side of the family.

No one would have accused her of being pretty. It was too soft a word- and would have insulted her in any case. She preferred knowing it was a strong and sexy face, the kind that could attract men when she was in the mood for one.

I could go on. I think I took the time write down 4 other passages from that book alone. But there are so many things about this description that I love. Its not just a physical description, but give so much information about how she grew up (retainer), her daily routines: she doesn't fuss over hair and make-up unless she's in the mood, and she's not attractive but she's sexy! She owns it. I love how she subconsciously makes decisions about her men the way she decides to fuss with makeup. "I'll wear mascara if I want to. And when I'm "in the mood for a man" she'll go out and get one.

GENIUS.