Conant Gardens Readers











{December 18, 2010}   My Craft

THE SKILLS OF THE CRAFT

So you got an Idea. You have mapped out your story. You got the descriptions in your head. What skills do you need to proceed? How talented are you? Yes it does take talent to broaden the horizons of your reader’s mind. Do you like fiction? Nonfiction? Self-help books? Textbooks? Religious books?

I prefer fiction. Fiction for young adults captured my attention first. ‘The Long Black Coat’ by Jay Bennett, was my first favorite book. He had a talent for telling a good tale in a way the young adult would understand. The first skill is to know your audience, who are they? young, mature, middle-age, older groups, or the elderly who can still read, with or without glasses.

The first skill for me was to decide WHO I wanted to write for. My nephew helped me decide that. He was a teenager and I wanted a story that he could read and enjoy. I had to make it an adventure story with twists and turns.

I knew my limitations and so must you. Harry Potter has an author and no, it’s not me. Science fiction is not my GENRE. Self-help books are for those who know what they are talking about. I just have a unique imagination. I have my own imagination. It belongs to me. So you need to write about what you are familiar with. Write using the talents within you that interest you most. If you write beyond your limitations, you may lose your readers and even become bored with your own writing. Can you keep your craft within you vision? Can you create something great? How do you develop your craft?

STEP-4 CRAFTING

 

           I craft my story from my very own head. Many people can’t do that. Some people have to write their ideas down on paper. In our computer age, we use computers that are supplied with Microsoft Word, or Note Pad. Some software programs help the writer by walking them through the writing process.

          This is where the local workshops come in. Re-educating yourself in the WRITING PROCESS is not a bad idea. You have to start somewhere, right? There are so many books to read that will help you get to where you need to be as a writer. It will take time to read the ones you may needed for your CRAFT.

I read ‘On Writing’ by Steven King, and he was so informative, that I still read it over and over again. You have to do the same research. Not re-reading a book repeatedly that is informative, yet knowingly it will help you in the long run, is pure laziness. Don’t do that to yourself. You have read the biblical stories repeatedly throughout your lives, so why not read a book about writing; about perfecting your CRAFT. How about ‘Writing a Novel by John Braine? He has illustrated his craft and has helped me to develop mine.

What about ME? I want those who want to WRITE, to WRITE with confidence despite any LIMITATIONS that they may have. I have DYSLEXIA, which is not easy to live with believe me, and I write stories, tales, poems, and prose. I’m illustrating to you know what I have learned by READING stories of others, daydreaming and putting stories in my own head, crafting, learning the writing process, and doing what I love to do, WRITE!

          The college writing courses sure help a lot of folks, but the money is not always conducive to the wallet. Either you know your CRAFT or you don’t. Re-educating yourself for the sake of your CRAFT may be worth your time and money, yet many just give up if they know what skills you will need to write a story, poem or prose.

          I took many composition writing courses, creative writing courses, poetry classes, and literature classes. I had to re-learn how to WRITE and WRITE well. I had to tap into the ‘mind’s eye’, that was the nucleus of my CRAFT. I had to READ the stories from the ‘classic crafters’; Dialogues of Plato, the biblical testaments of the bible, Grimm’s fairy tales, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher-Stowe, and so many others that widen my eyes to the CRAFT of writing.

          These classes and books taught me different styles of writing. I had to learn the different GENRES in order to know which to WRITE under.

          To develop your CRAFT, you have to be familiarize yourself with those most infamous crafters who ever lived. Let them mentor you with their crafting of words, phrases, sentencing, composing, description, and imagination.  Yes, you have to read their stories in order to develop yours in a similar fashion.     

          How about that infamous dream you had a few days ago. How about just jotting down what they were, how they began, and their beginning, middle, and finally their ending. Some stories were just that; dreams. Many authors just dreamed and dreamed big. They saw their dream in the ‘mind’s eye’ (that focal point of creating thought and ideas). Writers, after they see the craft, most writers write it down. I don’t. I don’t need to. It stays in a lock box within the deepest crevice of my brain, and erupts like volcano, pushing those ideas to the surface when I need them. But that’s me.

          So if you have the dream or the story you want to WRITE about, then you must dedicate yourself in knowing your CRAFT, and developing it through writing courses, mentors, and of course reading the stories of the ‘classic crafters’.

          CRAFTING is hard for those who don’t READ. If you have READ the classic novels, saw classic movies or plays, or have read classic poems, then you can visualize the WRITER’S CRAFT from those WRITERS, authors, playwrights, and orators have presented themselves to you through their writing. Don’t imitate them. That’s plagiarism! Don’t copy the works of others when you can develop your own. That’s cheating! You got TALENT, or what it takes to write if you are reading this book. You have a CRAFT inside of you that just has to be fished out of a vast sea of confusion by a good fisherman. If you have read ‘The Man of the Sea’ by Ernest Hemmingway, you know you have the fisherman instinct; you have perseverance.

          Another skill you need for your CRAFT is the use of the infamous ‘DICTIONARY’. Yes it does contain a huge amount of words that you really need to know and learn. LEARN how to use it well because it will be your new best friend. With this greatest tool, you can at least spell, and spell correctly. Here I go again, I’m DYSLEXIC, and a  DICTIONARY  is always close at hand when I write. Next to the DICTIONARY, I have to use the THESAURUS. WORDS have to be chosen, weighed, sorted, arranged, committed, utilized, accessed, recovered, obtained, retrieved, recaptured. . . oh you get it.

          Without a pen or pencil, a notebook or pad, a computer, a flash drive, we would be insufficient before we begin the WRITING CRAFT. Without a DICTIONARY or THESAURUS we have no craft. New excitable Words make our story come alive outside of ourselves.

          So there you are. You may need some writing workshops or classes, you will need to READ another WRITER’S CRAFT, you need stationary, a computer, flash drive, a dictionary and thesaurus, but above all, you need the talents within your mind’s eye: that imaginative particle to get you started. Do you have these skills? Then what’s next?

The storyline of course.

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