I wanted to do an exercise where I just wrote a paragraph. Not really thinking about the words or structure. Then I wanted to go back and tidy up the sentences.
Here’s the paragraph and then afterwards my corrections.
And so it came to pass that in a little dinner on Dover Street, during the lunch rush, on no distinguishably different day I met her. She happened to be wearing a green smock which had a large four leaf clover embroidered in the center of it. She said the oddest things and in the blink of an eye, she was gone. I couldn’t fathom what had just happened, much less describe it to anyone. She simply was there, and then wasn’t. I pondered it greatly over the next several hours, and in the end, I was certain of two things, she had been there, and I had been the only one who saw her. How this is possible I’ll can’t explain it but now know for certain that I am not imagining it. I can say this with all certainty because she dropped a book before she disappeared. I know she didn’t mean to drop it but nonetheless, there it was. Of course I went over and picked it up before anyone else had a chance to take it. After all, it was my ticket to meeting the woman who would end up saving the earth.
And so it came to pass that in a little dinner on Dover Street, during the lunch rush, on no distinguishably different day I met her.
On an indistinguishable day, at my little dinner on Dover Street, I met her.
See how the second one is the same but clean.
Now either one works, it’s author’s preference. But this example shows how you can have poetic language, or clean.
What are your thoughts?
Recently it became evident that dialogue has to be presented very differently than most new writers think it should be presented. Especially as it relates to how your character speaks.
In listening to the Writer’s Dojo podcast I really heard what was discussed. I went back to my work and realized… yup, can’t write a character’s speech in patois. Just doesn’t work.
I tried to read what I’d written. I mean, I wrote it so I should be able to read it right? Well, it was difficult to read. That means I have to go back through the entire book, all 110,000 words and fix this certain character’s speech. It’s ok, you grow… you learn… you improve.
When I edit the work I not only have to fix that, but I also have to fix my “He said/She said” issue.
Thanks guys for helping me understand a better way to present the work.
The Dust Devil swirling along the gutter, terminating its existence in front of the thing squatting at the back of alley.
The darkness of the room’s corner conceled him. He waited, oversized .38 special in hand. It really was a special .50 cal he’d picked up, but in his hands it seemed small. It looked just like a .38 Special, just enormous, unles he was holding it.
Come on punk, he thought. You know you want to come meet your maker. Maximillion Reginald, known to his friends and associates as Max Red, was an enormous, and powerful black man. He had been blessed with a rare gene, one which gave him the ability to see in just about any light, making his job much easier. Max was a detective, not the best, but damn good. Unlike others in his profession, Max could work where others couldn’t.
From my author’s notes on Waiting
…the writer’s circle of light… it’s located in the middle of winter at the back parking lot. With winter’s subzero snowflakes floating all around you—our private little hell. That is what it is like to be a writer. We live out in the hell’s frozen back parking lot, at least that’s how I view writers, we’re the forgotten and forlorn. Sure some of us get to wander in from the cold, but not many.
The walls seemed to rise up to infinity. Looking up he could see the darkening sky overhead, angry and filled with rage. The lightning danced throughout the now impenetrable darkness of the angry god’s heaven. Let the deluge come! he thought harshly, knowing the walls kept in those too wretched to be set free, and too haunted to be sane. Yet, for an instant, he thought perhaps there were some worth saving—the heavens opened up and unleashed their downpour—death walked the streets behind the walled city, claiming his due and it were for naught that they, the wretched, the insane, the forlorn and lost, were ignored. Their terror and pain called out to him, a prayer of suffering. Today was the beginning of rapture and none could stay his hand. The end had come.
Recently I had the opportunity to discuss the concept of reading other authors’ works. A statement was made that authors need to read other authors works for period language, concepts of genre, and a mean by which one can breath a greater essence of life into your story. Initially I had disagreed with my fellow author. I held dear the belief that an author should not be influenced by another’s work, to be true to one’s self is of utmost importance. However, I was was incorrect.
Take the time to read, find the books that you can use as resources, and place them on a shelf to become your personal reference works. These stories can be invaluable tools for accessing period language, descriptions, and concepts that can help you write that truely amazing work.
Looking back on the two stories, that were originally supposed to be five, that made it into the book I find myself at the jumping off point. A point where the assignment is over, and it’s now time to begin a new chapter. Do I really want to keep on writing, as this task has taken so much out of me. If pressed I would say yes, but I’m not sure anyone will be interested in my older works, and I know they are garbage compared to what they should be. I began those stories so long ago that they I view them now as being written with colored wax instruments. So do I really want to continue or do i want to begin again? I would like to finish the other three stories I have begun, those that did not make the Pink Final Cut.
And so I bled for the craft that is writing, and am I well written? No, I think not. I don’t know if one every truly becomes well written. I do know that having written something, I can say that I flew, I soared high into the sky and among the clouds. Most people that want to write are really people who want to want to write and simply never do.
I’ve been asked in the past what the key to being a writer is, I simply respond by asking the person to pick a word. I then have them write it down. Next I have them pick a word they think goes with it, and then have them write that down. I finally ask them to keep doing this until they’ve written the story. To never give up, even through adversity, even through the blood red pen marks and harsh critiques and criticisms, that is what it means to be a writer.
You can write every single day of your life, all day long and still not be well written. You have to want to be better, to improve. Couple that with your desire to write, and then actually do it.. then, and only then, will you be a writer.
From the inkwell…
Who do you listen to when seeking reviews?
I’m lucky, unlike many writers or want-to-write-ers, I have a group of people that can be well written. Not all of us are gifted in composition analysis, or rhetoricians, but we all have someone we listen to.
I was told, by a peer, that even Steven King has a group of people he passes his writings along to. I tend to want a more seasoned hand reviewing my work, and that too can be a troublesome road to travel. I think it’s better if we obtain input from people we like and respect than just a random set of fans. For instance, instead of seeking approval or input from a story I may post up here on this blogg, I would seek that input from people I interface directly with. It’s not to say that those people reading my stories don’t have critiques that are valid, they most certainly do. But what they don’t have is a knowledge of me, I don’t know them, and therefore can’t trust their input.
It is valuable to get input from other writers, friends, and family. Just make sure the input you get is from the source you want.
… and so he walked through the haze of smoke towards the bar leaving his drink on the table to gather condensation. Her beautiful golden hair hung perfectly down her back, framed by the vibrant red dress. Her white-gloved-hand held a beautifully carved ivory quellazaire.
The music on the jukebox caught his attention, and he stopped. He hadn’t heard that song since he was a kid. And suddenly it was as if he was transported back in time. There she sat, his mother, listening to her gramophone. He was thirteen and his dad had just been killed in World War I, somehow the two times seemed to merge. He felt dizzy. Just the booze, has to be the booze, he thought. Steadying himself he walked up to the beautiful woman, such a striking resemblance to Linda, Christ I’m going nuts! he thought as fear tried to break through and overwhelm him. Then she turn, and their eyes locked. Her smiled failed to touch her lips.
“Crazy Jack, isn’t it?” she said pushing the gun towards him.
“Yeah, crazy. Linda… hell it can’t be you, you’re dead!” he said excitedly.
The stood there quietly listening to the jukebox play that old time melody, from 1918. Each one knew that their next actions held life or death. The song quieted, and slowly ended. The click-clack noises of the machine came to an end. They knew it was time.