– By Vicky Meawasige Reed
It’s a privilege as well as a curse to be a writer. Over time, I realized that the saying, “The pen is mightier than sword” was literal truth. As a writer, it is vitally important to be clear and concise in your writing, to ensure that people are not confused by the intended meaning of your prose.
Writing should be a part of you – an extension of your mind to paper. Since you are unique in personality, experiences and aspirations, so is your writing. A part of your very essence is transferred and embedded into your work.
A gifted writer uses all five senses to engage the readers, taking them into their world, submerging them within the lines of print, allowing them to experience the read through words on the page.
Elements of intrigue inserted along the way entice readers to explore. The message should be subtle, piquing the interest of the explorer to experience the story through your choice of words. The experience should stimulate all the senses – taste should be mulled over on their tongues, making them remember a time when they experienced that taste; smell-evoking phrases that make the reader wrinkle their noses with the stench or drool with desire; descriptions so vivid that the brilliance of words blinds them; a blast of noise, or tactile imageries which causes goosebumps; passion-filled to make the reader gasp, cry out, or sigh.
There are times that writers will conjure up a certain sense in their writing, sitting back, examining and digesting the experience minutely to relay verbal messages across the very sensory synapses, to universally feel the words, assessing the words to convey the exact feeling which the author intended.
Yes, writing is a privilege as well as a curse. The more you write, the more you want to write. Making sacrifices to spend time with your writing, much like an addiction.
The flow of a writer’s pen is very much to their personalities, as well. I’ve found that there are many books I’ll put down and not finish reading based on the flow or feel of the book. Books have vibes, just as people do, vibes that are conveyed through the words on the page. Some writers will write about happiness and hope, others will write about sadness and grief, and some a combination of both. A gifted writer will make you feel the rollercoaster of life and have it resonate with you.
I’ve noticed that some meaning can be lost in translation. For example, if I would write about Shuri Ryu martial arts, which I am very familiar with, I think I would confuse the reader. Confusion would come from being too close to the subject of martial arts and its terminology. Information would be given at the level I’m used to talking at, but on the other hand, too much information would be too overwhelming, and this would be a bad thing for the reader’s engagement in the story. Finding the correct balance is key.
In the past, I had a revelation of sorts, likening writing a book to having a child. In the embryotic stages of the “baby” (book), a healthy foundation is needed. In my debut book, Path of the Turquoise Warrior, I shared this revelation in the preface.
“A great book takes time to write. The saying, “It’s my baby,” has new meaning for me. In the budding stages of this project, I developed a structure, the skeletal framework, the basis of the story. I knew what I wanted, so thought of that in mind, making sure to re-address the backbone throughout the writing process, making sure I didn’t stray from the very foundation of what I wanted to accomplish.
After that came the organs and muscle – character development within it to keep the readers engaged. Shortly thereafter I created the skin, the outer layers of what the story was about and what I was trying to convey to them. Of course, a strong story needs a good heart, a thought-provoking mind, and a deep, resonating soul to captivate the audience. My goal? To help readers become one with the story, gasping with anticipation.
Of course, in order to breathe life into it, you must have the readers, you, to breathe the life into it, making it truly come to life. And for the story to grow, to have lessons speckled throughout to ensure it is not only a story, but one that people can relate to, and to gain wisdom from someone else’s words.
Now to me, that’s a great read. It is my story, but to keep it to myself would be selfish. If others can find some solace, then my work was not done for nothing.”
Looking back at this quote from my own book, I realize I now have editor eyes. I see vast improvements in my own writing. But if there is one lesson I have learned, it is this: To be a great writer, you must keep writing, not only to improve the foundation that was established in the first “child,” but becoming more effective, efficient and skilled in the craft, to create more children for others to enjoy.
Good parenting, like good writing, is a skill which takes time to develop.