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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Words

Just gotta say...

If you would like to increase your vocabulary, look no further than Elizabeth George's books in the Inspector Lynley series! I consider myself well-read and, yet, for the first time I can recall there is nearly one word per chapter that I have to find in the dictionary before I can continue. Thankfully, I started reading this series on my iPad so it is simple to just tap the word and it pulls up the definition. Phew.

One of the reasons that I ventured into Elizabeth George's series was because I had begun reading her guide to fiction writing--Write Away--and, feeling deeply drawn to it right off, realized that I needed to connect to her fiction as well. This hasn't happened for me with most of the 'guide' books I've read this past year. What was different about this one?

Just now I went back and re-read the first few pages and there isn't any single sentence or phrase that captures me. So what is it? Maybe it's because she starts by discussing character? That could be it. Certainly, I feel like my own writing is more character-driven than anything else, with even the location personified in my mind. Ms. George then gives attention to setting followed by landscape. Hmm. Only then does she address plot.

Ah-ha! That's the kinship I feel with her writing process. My first draft is primarily characters, setting and landscape! The plot felt forced from inception and easily fell to pieces when picked at. That led me to my current immersion in the study of craft which easily and repeatedly clarified what was missing--conflict. So I essentially have a first draft set in a place I love and filled with characters I find interesting, but missing the driving force. LOL But you know what? I feel okay about that because I'm not done! I've now made good progress toward resolving the problems. Let the revisions and rewrites begin...


  1. EG is a wonderful writer -- and I really like WRITE AWAY!. That said, I suspect that as she has a large following of loyal readers, she can be a bit leisurely about introducing the conflict and getting the plot rolling -- we know it'll be there. But for those of us without Ms. George's status, it's probably as well not to delay the conflict for too long.

  2. Hi, Darla. I really appreciate that you're sharing some of what you're learning from reading books on writing. There are so many out there, so it's hard to know what to choose. I think for me, I've learned the most about writing from simply reading the work of my favorite authors, though lately I've been trying to read a bit more variety, as I think there's always the risk of writing TOO much like a writer you admire.

    So happy to hear that your own writing is going so well!

  3. Wise as usual, Vicki. I'm glad you share your experience and thoughts because your support is so very practical, yet encouraging. Conflict it is!

    Beth, I wish you would write on your blog more often as it always feels like such a gift to read whatever you choose to share. Thanks for mentioning too, how much you gain from reading other authors' works. Someone I read suggested pulling several novels off the shelf and going through them, analyzing, in order to learn more about what works well.


Thank you for stopping by. With open heart, I welcome your thoughts however you wish to share them, whether via personal email or as a comment here. ~ Bright Blessings ~

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