Reading · Writing

Saturday Summation – 09 April 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Reading Stuff

I’m not a huge poetry person. Never have been. However, as author Kwame Alexander points out (and others before him), it’s a great vehicle for novel writing that gets more reluctant readers hooked than plain old “interest”. I wish, in my English-teaching days, I had done a better job of recognizing this possibility.

But, speaking of poetry, when it’s going to come from Jason Reynolds, I’m on it. He participates in the daily poem challenge during National Poetry Month (all of April) and this one felt worth sharing because, well, as a writer it clicked: “What it’s really like to be a writer”

Here’s just a tidbit: the internet is no longer a proper noun. Don’t even really know why it ever was. Maybe Al Gore pushed that through. 😉


Writing Stuff

I appreciated this post by Jo Eberhardt about the difference between being a writer and a storyteller because I frequently lament that I am not a storyteller. This might sound kind of strange, and of course, it’s not entirely true, but I’d argue that I’m a writer first and a storyteller second. When I think of the great storytellers I’ve known and still know I think of my 7th grade English teacher, my HS creative writing teacher, my husband, my sister, one of my uncles, and at least one of my husband’s cousins. That’s a rich collection right there. A couple of those people happen to be good writers, too. But the titles ARE different and Eberhardt reminds us that it’s important to embrace who we are and then offers ideas on strengthening the other part. For me, I also include pulling on what makes those storytellers in my life so good at what they do and work on how to capture that magic.

I’ve mentioned before about how following Jenny Crusie’s blog is a great way to see the process of an author writing a novel. Some of the posts are pretty long, but they’re also illuminating. A recent one this week revealed the usefulness of critique notes from fellow writers or even beta readers. She shows what comments are good to have, what ones are needed, and how it helps shape the revision process.

I see a lot of conversation around the supposed necessity of using first person point-of-view when a writer really wants to have a story that digs deep with a character. I’m not entirely sure where this certainty comes from – maybe it’s a recent MFA program sort of teaching that might also be trickling down to other writing classes and workshops? I don’t know. I do know that I rarely see any major differences in feeling immersed with characters based upon POV. Narrative perspective is definitely affected, but both first and third POV can definitely effectively delve us into a character’s head. This post by Amanda Stevens talks more about what many call “deep” third person POV. It’s highly useful to see her examples that help use third POV in a way that immerses readers into a character’s experience in a story. She also talks of “enemies” that get in the way. So many of these “enemies” I have to work on. So. Many.
Video of the Week

Wish I could embed this one, but I’ve yet to up my WordPress technical know-how in how to get non-YouTube videos to embed (or maybe I just haven’t invested the time), but with the disheartening laws being passed lately, I sure think Ellen’s statement is worth sharing.

What do you think? I'd love to discuss!

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