On Writing: by DanaVilla-Smith
Do you ever feel exceptionally overwhelmed with all of the opinions and “rules” set forth for by those who have gone before us?
Go back in time to a moment when these rules didn’t exist. There was no “I before E except after C”, there was Latin, andallofthewordsrantogetherwithnoinflectionorperiods
Or, pick up a copy of old Epics, like Beowulf
where the format of sentences
and lyrics don’t make any sense in
English, but each of them were sculpted
correctly for the language at the time.
Have you ever read the descriptions in old French novels? I spent three pages trying to figure out what I was supposed to be looking at in the beginning of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The Phantom Of The Opera had a weird hallucinating room in his “torture chamber”. Raoul spent what he assumed were three days in it, going absolutely mad.
The Scarlet Letter has no interactive dialogue before the third chapter.
Charles Dickens and his odd stories include a character whose hands that were described as “fishy”, pointing out the lad’s constant wiping them with a handkerchief. I gave up on poor David Copperfield because I was bored with the lack of progression.
Jane Austen has an extraordinarily vast vocabulary, with which she conjures exquisite tales of remarkable men, half-witted clerics, apprehensive women, and delightful supporting cast. A refreshing experience drawing out the romantics of the English Language, leaving the audience with flighty nonsensical ideas misapplied to the Romantic Period in British History.
Mark Twain went into far too much detail describing the Paige boy in melon colored tights.
JRR Tolkien has a varied list of events and circumstances that didn’t make any sense in the rest of the plot, and frankly kept the story from progressing very fast. ((I know, everyone loves dear old Tom and Goldberry, but between him, the tree that ate the Hobbits, and the Barrowdowns, we didn’t really get anywhere before Weathertop))
CS Lewis did not grab my attention with the pedestrian who tucked his newspaper under his arm, and crossed the street.
An indie Fantasy book I tried to read spent two and a half pages talking about a bridge.
We all have our errors. We all have that ONE thing we do, or do not do.
We all get writers block! Charles Dickens nearly gave up writing, as he was so severely stuck in a bought of debilitating depression. After he dealt with his own Ghosts, Ebenezer Scrooge came to life and A Christmas Carol has been a smashing hit ever since.
Your MAIN goal is to write the story. Screw all logic, rules, and regulations. Just. Write. Don’t worry about the “how”, your only concern is the Who, What, When and Where.
Once you’ve finished writing the book, that is when you apply the rules.
Read what you’ve written.
Don’t read what you’ve written.
Start at the beginning and work through.
Write the middle and end first.
Jump ahead to scenes you know are coming.
Write them when you get to that point.
Whatever your method is, just write. Recreational Writing is a hobby, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, take a step back and ask yourself why. If you’re so overwhelmed with rules and the opinions of “famous” authors who have come before you, then stop asking for their advice.
Block all of the voices you’ve ever heard, and listen to your own.
If you’ve gotten this far into life, you’ve learned the rules. You know nouns, and verbs, and adjectives, and consonants and vowels.
You have a story in your head, a burning urge to write it. Go forth, my dear Writer, and do.
Dana Villa-Smith is a Wielder of Words. She has spent the greater half of her life dedicated to a High Fantasy series that has yet to make its debut in the world. Currently published in two anthologies, with the hope of many more to come, Dana eagerly pecks away at the keys when time allows. The very first story she wrote was a condensed re-telling of The Red Pajamas. Moving beyond construction paper, crayons and staples, Dana began dabbling a bit in fan-fiction after discovering Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. Between the cinematic explosion of Middle Earth and the incredible land of Narnia, her imagination was alive and well.
Currently she lives in the Heart of Texas, raising her two children, while her husband attends Baylor University. When the weather is nice-which is not all that often-she can be found spending time with her children in the great out-of-doors. If the weather is at all disagreeable, she enjoys grocery shopping, and art projects. Artistically, she draws and paints, and creates fantasy maps for author friends.
Some of her favorite things include teaching, coffee, walking, exercise, herbalism, and “discovering” dinosaur bones in the hallway with her toddler.