Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Roar for Powerful Words
Bernita picked me for a Roar for Powerful Words award (for powerful writing in the blogosphere). I contemplated demurring, since my job is more to tinker with other people's writing, but then as I read her entry I realized that in mentioning my award I would get to wax poetic (again) about what makes a good (and powerful) writer.
The rules: you are obliged to list three characteristics you think are important for good writing, and pass the award on.
My three characteristics:
So much is published on so much all the time that everything's been written about before (a bajillion times). Honestly, a lot of modern "good" writing is really retreading very familiar ground. The great and affecting writers are the ones who manage to tread familiar ground in a way that is unusual (or the sainted few who manage to find new ground to tread). It's a real gift for a writer to recognize when and how they can break the rules about style, content, and market, and then be able to break those rules well.
The best writers are the purposeful writers. This can mean different things to different people. In many cases, writers strive to touch an empathetic chord with their words, thereby making people's lives a little better or more interesting. But also, writing is a powerful medium and even the most creative fiction writers should think now and then about what writing has meant in history and the venue they've created for themselves to really make a statement, fight for what they believe in, and change the way their readers think. Writing well to entertain is a skill and a power. Writing well to entertain while offering your readers the chance to open their minds is a gift to yourself and your readers.
(The editor sneaks another little word in edgewise.) Be open to change! Don't take advice from everyone, because not everyone knows what they are talking about, but do listen to what people say and be judicious about editing. If your darlings are distracting your reader you're undermining your own power. Great writers know that being able to step back and take criticism will help them touch more people.
(If you are bored and would like more characteristics, please cf What Makes a Dream Author, where I wax even MORE poetic.)
Ok, sorry for the extensive discourse. Bernita, I hope you're happy to have brought this down upon us!
For passing the award along:
I don't feel right picking from the many wonderful bloggers whose writings I follow, and I got dizzy trying to pick favorites from my long list of buddies. I hope everyone knows how much I love their blogs, and, for those of you who are working toward publication and offer writers venues to air material, new devices to think about, and tips for breaking in, I (and other editors everywhere) are eternally grateful. But I will give two special shouts here to bloggers that are especially important to me, and if either one wants to carry on with the award, I hope they will.
The first is Maria, whose blog I stumbled on accidentally many months ago. Maria has nothing to do with publishing (that I know of!) and only writes because she is a Writer. I wanted to thank her for the many times she's helped me appreciate the world around me a little more vividly.
The second is Angelle, who is the only blogfriend I have whose actual-reality writing I've been lucky enough to read. Angelle is a Writer in the truest sense--she writes because she loves to write, and because she has a message she wants to share with the world. She fits all three of my criteria to a tee.
Thanks for this opportunity, Bernita--powerful words are worth roaring for.