I think I’ve spent the majority of the time set aside for my craft, reading. I will read books written by those who want to teach me more about writing. Since 2016, I’ve added roughly five-hundred books to my shelves. There were so many new books that I had to thin the collection down to just ‘the essentials.’
While I read a lot, I didn’t just read. I wrote. And more importantly, I wrote every day. At first, I challenged myself with the simple task of writing something every single day. I reminded myself that writers do not have holidays or days off.
Writers live to write. The release of the words crowding their minds is necessary for them to breathe their next breath. And so, it was with me.
My ideas formed along with the ideas I read about in the works of other writers. Through prepared online classes, I studied with James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, and Judy Blume. I listened to their podcasts, and I took notes.
My study of the craft also led me to read books on technique, style, and the basics of proper grammar. My writings took the shape of blog entries, short stories, and culminated in finally finishing a novel, and then another. Today, I’m working on the first draft of my third novel, and I’m amazed.
I still read about the craft every day. Today, I came across an article by Vladimir Nabokov. He is known as one of the great writers of the twentieth century. In addition to numerous awards, his work gained acclaim for its use of sophisticated and original plots and clever alliteration and wordplay.
Nabokov’s article listed three qualities for what he considered a ‘major writer.’ These qualities allowed the major writer to be a) A Storyteller, b) A Teacher, and c) An Enchanter.
A gifted writer himself, Nabokov believed the best writers are those who combine all three of these talents in their writing, but above all, the writer of note is always a great enchanter.
It is the storyteller who entertains and gives the reader mental excitement through the emotional roller coaster and travels through time and space. Readers leave the doldrums of this life for strange new worlds.
Taking the analogy one step further, we see the writer as a teacher. The knowledge bestowed upon their readers may come in the form of propaganda, stories of high moral fiber, and direct knowledge of simple facts. A reader wants to learn from their reading, along with the entertainment.
But it is the enchanter within the writer that brings the reader the greatest joy. While the storyteller and teacher bring their talents and blend them with the magic of the written word, it is the genius, the study of style, along with the imagery created that keeps the reader glued to the page.
It is these three facets of the great writer, magic, story, and lesson, blended into one impression of unique radiance. “The magic of art is found in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought.”
(Oh, how I wish I could take credit for that last line, but it is a direct quote from Mr. Nabokov. But his words tell me that someday if I continue to work on my craft, I can create sentences that vibrate and resonate like his.)
And you can, too.
I will be writing a lot about the craft of writing, creating short stories, and style and technique over the next few weeks.
I’m STILL looking for work from those of you who are feeling the pressure of world events. Please WRITE, DRAW, TAKE PICTURES and EXPRESS YOURSELF in POSITIVE WAYS. (Then send them to me and let’s let the world know we are STRONG, RESILIENT, and POWERFUL.)
Check out the page about the ‘2020 Artists on Lock Down Collection.’
The Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2020