The Write Path--the Road Now Traveled

We writers hear and read a lot of how each of us should achieve the right effect in our craft. It is all right and all wrong. (Disclaimer: This idea is not mine, but resonates with me so I'm passing it on.)

Imagine if Charles Dickens, Tom Clancy, Steven King, Barbara Cartland, Shakespear, Louisa May Alcott, and Georgette Heyer all sat down to discuss writing. Each and every one of them would probably have a strong notion of what writing should be like. Each and every one of them would be correct. Each and every one of them would be wrong.

Each has a distinctive style and writer's voice. Each emphasizes different areas of their writing. As you re-read the list above let your mind's ear think of words they've written. Charles Dicken's rich backgrounds and detail. A man who was commissioned by our country to change the world by his writing. And so A Christmas Carol was born. And it worked. Christmastime rioting and destruction of commercial districts was stopped in this country. Now, that's the power of the written word.

Tom Clancy's tangled weaves of far separate lives that are almost insurmountable in reading complexity but come together and dazzle us. Steven King's way with few words, but horrifying in the way they linger on the brain.

How can we forget Barbara Cartland's breathless heroines and her exotic locations? She was once the most prolific writer that ever lived. She led the charge for mass marketing romances.

Louisa May Alcott's gentle descriptions of everyday life in the lives of regular people. Her books have been beloved by a generation and become classics. Georgette Heyer, one of my personal favorites, has layering of interlocking stories as well as good characterizations.

Each of these writers would be silly writing as the others. The richness of the reading world would be less if they had tried. Worse, if one had stayed silent and never wrote their own stories in their own way, the world would be less also.

Since we started this blog, it has had a lot of excellent information for writers. It has been very multidimensional for all kinds of writing. However, I think the greatest lesson of all, is to be true to one's own writing spirit. In the attempt to learn and grow in the craft of writing, sometimes we prune the wrong limb. Be careful. The world never has enough variety and is always looking for something new to read.


Joan Vincent said...

Thank you for the excellent snapshots of some famous authors, most of whom I've read (only Stephen King's book on writing. I'm not into horror). It's also good to be reminded that "different" is indeed as necessary as "alike." We all follow the same grammar rules but each of us brings something different to the table. That alone ensures variety in our writing. I'm thankful for that variety. and have enjoyed discovering our different styleson the blog.

Nina Sipes said...

Like you, Joan, I've really enjoyed the different flavors of the blog writing. Everyone is so talented. It tickles my funnybone to think of all of those writers I mentioned sitting down at a round table and talking about the best way to put a story across to the masses. Oh my, what an afternoon that would be.

Becky A said...

Thank you Nina for reminding us that it is not only ok, but necessary for us to march to the tune of our own drummers. When I first began learning the craft of writing I often became frustrated because I didn't fit into the narrow mold for publication. Thankfully I began to realize that I didn't have to. I am who God created me to be and if I do things different, then that's ok. What is important is that I glean the information I need from the wealth I receive, and put it to work in creating the kind of books that are within me burning to get out. Your words of wisdom to write for the sheer pleasure of it, knowing that someone will appreciate my written words (eventually :) instead of only focusing on getting published, has been a tremendous blessing. Thank you Miss Nina, for being the wise person you are and sharing that wisdom with the rest of us.


Nina Sipes said...

I'm glad you've regained your joy of writing. Even when I struggle to understand writerly things and discover new information other writers take for granite, I still enjoy the process of playing in the words. Even malapropisms, eggcorns, or their cousins.

Pat Davids said...

Georgette Heyer was one of my favorite authors before I learned how to write. After that, I struggled with her head-hopping. Readers, pure readers, have it so much easier.

Rox Delaney said...

Nina, I think you and I share a favorite among Georgette Heyer books. The Grand Sophy was the first of hers I read and cherish it to this day.

It's true that we have to write what's close to our hearts. Sometimes it fits the current market, sometimes it doesn't. Just because an editor says, "It doesn't fit what we're buying now," don't toss it. The market is always changing and shifting. What wasn't hot last year, may be hot, hot, hot this year. And keep writing!

Nina Sipes said...

Oh, Roxann,yes, I loved The Grand Sophy so much that I gave an oral book report on it that was supposed to be three minutes and embarrassed myself to no end with an accidental fifteen minute one. Only the bell stopped me, I was so wrapped up in explaining the layering. Pat is right I used to read delightedly. Now, I'm jealous half the time. There are some fantastic writers out there.

Penny Rader said...

Great post, Nina! When I was a kid and someone asked what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, I always said books and the asker would usually look at me funny. When I was 9 or 10 one of my grandmas gave me Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for Christmas. I was so tickled that someone had finally listened to me. I still have that book. And, yes, I still ask for books for gifts. :D