I know poetry is supposed to be creative. You don’t have to follow the rules if you don’t want to. You just put your pen to the paper and write. Then you dump it all on us and expect us to appreciate your art.
Well, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. I get about one book of poetry a week sent to me for a review. I turn most of them away, and it’s not because I’m an old curmudgeon, or because I’m a stickler for “proper English.” The first reason is that I try to read them out loud following the format they’re written in, and it all sounds like gobbledygook. Continue reading “A Curmudgeonly Look at Poetry”
I began my writing career in drama, and when I start a new chapter of a novel, the first thing that comes to mind is the dialogue. Bad idea. When you come into the middle of a conversation, you always feel like you’re missing something, and I suspect my readers react the same way. So I went looking for a metaphor that would help me write an effective opening paragraph for every chapter. And to do that, I had to figure out what readers want at the beginning of a chapter.
We writers are very sneaky people. We lie to our readers constantly, luring them into imaginary situations and manipulating their emotions shamelessly under the pretense that we are entertaining them. And all the while, what we really want to do is preach to the reader about how the world works and how to make it go better. The difference between a good writer and a bad writer is that the good writer doesn’t get caught. Good writers make readers need what we want to tell them. Less experienced writers start their novels only thinking about what the reader needs to know in order to understand. Continue reading “Writer Wants Versus Reader Needs”
It is very easy to have your own voice. Basically your voice is anything in your writing style that makes you different from the competition. Some of these qualities are positive, but some are negative. Unfortunately, the negative ones are the easiest, because they tend to look like mistakes. Be careful not to fall into their snare. Continue reading “How to Develop Your “Author’s Voice” – and How Not to”