Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reader Questions Part 5

How do you go into so much detail in fight/magic/love scenes?

I was a creative writing major in college. I went into college thinking I knew how to write, boy was I wrong.

Obviously I took a lot of writing courses, creative writing, children’s literature, exposition writing and on and on. But the course that really helped shape my skills was my Creative Writing: Poetry class. I was lucky enough to be taught by Dr. Jack T. Ledbetter, an award winning poet and playwright.

He was the first person to tell me what a horrid writer I was. He didn’t say it so bluntly, but he opened my eyes. JT liked to tell us about the year a student wrote a poem about staring out his window at the moon. But he didn’t say that, he call the moon, “Yon sailing orb!” Yep. That happened. So, whenever we got too ridiculous or flowery in our poems JT would write in bright red “YSO!” on your paper, across your poem so you knew you’d gone off the descriptive cliff.

JT told us about the French writers of the early Nineteen Century who would write these “masterpieces” that no one actually understood. They thought, “Wonderful! This is Art! The average man shouldn’t understand what we’re saying!” That was the kind of writer I was when I started college. Thank goodness I signed up for Dr. Ledbetter’s class.

Now I know how to write clearly. I can still paint a picture with prose (say that three times fast!) but you, as the reader, still understand just what the hell I’m trying to say.

I’m also lucky enough to have a husband who is a self-defense instructor who has been training in various martial arts for nearly 30 years. So when I need to figure out a fight scene, I turn to him and he teaches me how to hurt someone and then let’s me practice on him. Now that’s love.

In my last post I’ve already told you how much research I’ve done on magic and Wicca, so I just remember what JT taught me about being clear and direct so you see what I see in my mind when I write.

As for the love scenes… well… this is a family friendly page for the most part. Let’s just say I’ve gone through my fair share of poisonous apples until my prince charming came along and broke the spell. I think knowing love helps you write it.

But even with all of that education it still takes practice. I think Air was a better book than Earth, and Water was better than Air and so on. You have to hone your craft and like any skill, if you don’t practice, your writing can get rusty. I’m a better writer today than I was a year ago because I just keep at it and I listen to constructive criticism and have learned to edit my own writing.


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