Saturday, June 9, 2012

Soul to the Writing

Writing has to have 'soul'. The essence that makes the words more than a simple description of an action is what elevates the story into 'keep forever in the bookshelf of honor' quality. 'Bob entered the room' is stage direction. Its not interesting to read. It makes readers yawn. Any piece of writing whether its a novel or a magazine or a textbook is made better with 'soul'.

Seven years back when I decided to write original fiction, I looked back on the all the fanfiction I wrote and realized how bland they sounded. It was this 'empty feeling'. They were burgers without meat or ketchup or lettuce. It was depressing. So I decided to learn from the masters. I examined their books with more fervor than any academic text. I had to find out what made their writing so much better than my own.

They were more developed for one thing. The events (not just the plots but the individual events) and characters had more sustenance than mine. Going deeper than that the nuts and bolts of the sentences and paragraphs was somehow better. They weren't stage direction. That I know for sure. 'Bob killed the villain' was never described that way. It was more meaningful than that. There was a motion to it; an energy.  I still don't know exactly what it is but I use the words 'effect' and 'flow' to refer to it. Does that help?

Naturally I'm thinking about this as I write this blog post: I have to write this subject without boring you with bland prose, which makes this post harder to write than the others. Its a Centipedes Dilemma thing. I try not to think about writing when writing because if I do  I'll think too much and don't actually do any writing. This is why so why many of my posts are focused on getting 'in the zone'.

When I'm in the zone I write some amazing stuff, if I do say so myself.


  1. Thank you. If you're interested, that last sentence is a link to the free preview of my first novel.

  2. I know what you mean----for many years I tried to publish fiction (time-travel romance novels)and never had any luck. Then I tried my hand at self-help nonfiction. Still no luck. The only thing I could ever publish successfully was poetry, but that never put groceries on the table, so I quit writing and had 4 kids instead (quite a distraction!). Last year I pulled out those old manuscripts, and while there were parts that were well-written, most of it sounded bogus, even to me. An old college professor once told me to write what I know....I finally did (humor/family life) and it seems to be going very well. You just have to find your niche! You write well, so stick to writing what you KNOW!

  3. That's a good point. By writing what one knows its more likely to have that essential 'soul' quality. In my opinion, Humor/family life goes VERY well for you.