12 July 2013

learning

I was almost pleased with my story, with my revisions that never end...but I want to improve my writing, never settle.

So I picked up The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. The cover says:
Avoid Common Manuscript Errors
Attract the Attention of Agents and Editors
Take Your Writing to a Higher Level

I tingled with anticipation of seeing my work in a new light.

And then I cringed. Adjectives and adverbs abound in my head and on my pages. Chapter Two had lectures in exchanging those for stronger nouns and verbs, with exercises to be done on the first page of my novel (I used the first two pages - my prologue). In truth, it wasn't as awful as I expected; I didn't have the excess I thought I had; I was pleased with the outcome. Mostly.

Some parts felt wrong, as if the cadence of my story was tempered. But I slogged on, forcing myself to complete the exercises. After all, the point is to learn, to get better at this craft.

Chapter Three: Sound.
"Accomplished poets often make for the best writers of prose because they bring to their art years of paying close attention to the sound of language, to its rhythm, breaks, to subtle elements like alliterations and echoes. They can spend years working on just one line, and this devotion to the craft of the individual word almost always translates into immaculate prose, beautiful to hear and beautiful to read." (pp. 41-42)

I don't know about "accomplished", but I have a binder busting at the seams with poetry. I should work on filling another; it's good for me and it's been too long since I dabbled with it. I do love playing with words.

This chapter gave balance to the lack of adjectives and adverbs. It soothed away the rigid lines of strict noun and verb usage. Some adjective and adverb use is acceptable. It's about not overusing it.

Many years ago, a friend said to me, "You need to write prose the way you write poetry."

Yes; you were right, my friend...

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