Here on this blog, I try not to give too much craft advice. First, because I know I’m not the best when it comes to craft. I will never be known for my inventive sentences structure or harrowing prose. Second, because I truly believe that one fatal flaw for a writer is to forget to be a storyteller. As I was reminded on Saturday by author Mary Amato, writers get caught up in the writing of sentences, they forget to tell a story.
I would encourage writers to learn the basics of craft: dialogue, show don’t tell, building a character, etc. But then step back as ask yourself if you are telling a story. I’ve been guilty of this. I write something cool, but it’s not a story. There’s no tension. There’s no arc. And yes, you need to have these things. I think people get annoyed when nothing happens in the story. I do.
Also, aside from knowing the basics, I think writers should work on developing their own style. I call it your “creative expression.” This only comes from writing and figuring out what works best. Know the basics and then work on developing your own way of telling a story.
It’s not bad to see how other writers do things. In fact, it can be really helpful. But don’t rely on it. It’s almost better to know how you are supposed to do something (like dialogue) and see how the writer does follows the rules and how they break them. But don’t take it as gospel. It may make you seem like a lesser version of the author. Not good.
And don’t forget to tell a story! You want the reader to turn the page, to follow the reader, and make a connection. That’s what you’re aiming for.
We’re almost at the end of the month! Can you believe it! One more post to go.