It's my pleasure to introduce today's guest poster, Susan Kane who blogs at thecontemplativecat
I love her tagline:
One who observes and thinks about one has seen, what has passed my way, what greater meaning lies behind and beneath life's small events.
Today she'll be sharing her take on what makes good writing.
The pieces matter. The pieces are what combine to make a whole.
This seems simplistic, I know, but this sums up my approach to everything. Paying attention to the details of life, art, writing, quilting, relationships—those pieces or details change everything.
When I was teaching third and fourth graders about writing, convincing them to focus on the pieces of an experience was next to impossible. Write about the best thing you got to do? Your favorite day? The best birthday ever? *Sigh*
Every story was a bed-to-bed story in which the student got up, went to Disneyland, ate pizza, and came home (to bed). Blah. That was it. It took months to work through the clock and write about an event that lasted five minutes. Only five minutes.
The most successful write was after we had gone on a field trip to the butterfly exhibit at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It was a domed tropical habitat filled with plants, water streams, and freshly-hatched butterflies.
Students wrote about the awe they experienced when an amazing tropical butterfly landed on their hands. Still, they stood so still watched the splendor of this fragile creation. Then they understood what it meant to write about just those minutes when they experienced beauty in such a form.
As a life-long writer, I have learned that it is the minutes that make up our lives, not the broad sweeping strokes of time.
I have learned that longer is not necessarily the best writing. Slash that adjective! Burn that adverb! Modifying progressive verb phrases? Fewer are better… Long hefty paragraphs are weary. I stop paying attention midway. Elaborate metaphors are tiring.
Now I write in pieces with the goal of combining to make a whole. But, man! I make those pieces sing. Make them dance. Paint them with vivid senses.
After that, I pray that the reader experiences the joy I felt in the writing.
Just a quick reminder from the guest post scheduler, we are still accepting guest posts. This is your chance to use this blog with a nice following to showcase your blog and what you're all about. Email me directly (see email addresses under the contact tab) if you're interested.