Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Writing Lesson 101

My computer died back in May just days before attending the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. After months of fretting over whether to repair or buy new I finally ordered and received my desktop computer this week and now can easily access Internet and my photo collection to update this blog. My son graciously shared his laptop during the interim. Working on a laptop is like the time my church wanted me to switch from playing the piano to playing a digital keyboard. They sound similar but have a different feel. Desk top computers are more to my liking. But I’ve learned to appreciate the portable convenience of a laptop and convinced my husband to purchase a mini notebook for my use. On with writing lesson 101!

I was excited when my first story was in print in the local newspaper on July 22. Like any good writer I did my duty and supported the local economy by buying multiple copies :) The overall experience of my first publication was extremely good. I knew going in, the editor would possibly change the title and actually I liked his title better, “Running for a Higher Cause” which hinted at its spiritual connotation and was more fitting than “Volunteers Take the Heat”. Except for a couple of words the body of the article remained as written including my headings.

I sometimes prepare myself for disappointment but I don’t like disappointing others. I realized that space in newspapers are subject to change and the staff chose to use one photo versus two and therefore one of the young male runners photo would not make the issue. The lesson is never promise or indicate to someone their photo or quotations will be included because it is always subject to change.

I’ve learned that you must edit, edit and edit some more. It’s true that after you write your story; put it down for a day or two then you easily see needed revisions that appeared invisible at first. Your editor will thank you and not run the other way when you bring the next story or manuscript. My article was just under 800 words and I revised it about thirty or forty times as well as getting input from hubby. With experience I expect that revisions will be fewer but always necessary.

As an artist I view things from the camera's point of view or how my art would look on canvas to be most appreciated. As a writer I am training myself to write stories with a reader’s point of view to ‘show’ an angle that brings interest. The words should have balance and easily draw the reader into the story with appreciation for having spent their valuable time reading and come away with a positive emotion, a thought provoking experience or to be entertained.

Writing is an art that must be studied, developed and practiced by the writer to be appreciated by the reader.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Daphne, on your new "job" at the newspaper! I read about your blessing at The Writer's Den.

    Jean Hall