I’ve been reading a few writer’s craft books. One recommended by our favorite Writer’s Grinch, The Lie that tells a Truth. The other is the Twelve Key Pillars of Novel Construction (links below).
The first so far, feels like being tormented by my personal writer’s cheerleading demon. “Write this, write that. Come on Duffy, get off your arse and write me a scene about how your characters would react to seeing a fruit-stand purveyor being gang raped by a band of capuchin monkeys.”
The other, the 12 Pillars one, provides a holistic approach, a “You gotta start with a concept with heart, a protagonist with cajones, a theme with a big-hair metal-band rhapsody.”
I’ll get through them and I suspect, learn a bit along the way.
What I’ve noticed, in the interim, is that I’ve tightened my whole mental process of words to paper. I’ve adopted the, readers are smart, just tell them the bare minimum approach. And this works well. My stories speed up. I have to write less to get my ideas across. I get to rip along with plot. In general, and in tribute to our Grinch, less is more.
What’s more important to recognize is that this metamorphosis has taken roughly five years to accomplish. Five painful years to learn that the heart of the story must not be obscured with needless decoration. Story essential comes home to roost.
Clayton touched her arm. “That bad?”
She scratched a fingernail across the worn arm of her chair. “Worse.”
Her husband stood and gazed out the window. “It’s done then?”
“Unless you cut it off completely.” Marjorie pulled a loose thread, let it drift to the floor.
“I can’t,” Clayton said.
”Then, neither will I.”