The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer

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Semicolons get squee from me and other writing-related thoughts

1) A few days ago, I followed a link trail to this post. Since POV and characterization are not among my strong points as a writer, I decided to fill out the little chart at the bottom and try my hand at transforming telling sentences into "involuntary character reactions." When I got to the fourth one, I realized that a whopping three of my examples had semicolons. I forced myself to edit at least one of them, but when I got to the fifth, my natural impulse was to divide my sentences with a semicolon. Yes, I am a fan of this punctuation mark.

2) I recently finished a book chock-full of beautiful prose. Although it was a short book compared to my standard fare, it took me ages to finish it. As gorgeous and lush as the writing was,  as surprising, dark, and fanciful as the writer's imagination and world were, I just couldn't get into it.  Because I didn't care about the characters. I would see the book lying by my bed and think, "Oh, I should read that." Never a, "I must sneak away to read this book!"

Upon finishing it, I turned to one of my favorite reads--a trilogy--in search of that sucked-in feeling I crave from my fiction. And I am finding the prose to be rather mediocre. That, however, has not kept me from staying up until 2 a.m. twice in a row to read about the characters that I've already visited a whopping seven times.

Still, upon occasion, I find myself rewriting sentences, taking out repetitions, thinking about how flashbacks are handled, the balance of telling and showing; I find myself wishing for prose that sings more often. (I still get teary eyes in places, so despite my minor quibbles, the story still has its power over me.)

I'm deeply interested in words--the way they sound, how they look on a page, where they come from, how they can be strung together to express and explore thoughts, emotions, or heretofore unknown-to-me ideas and concepts. Nevertheless, I don't like when a story is just about the words. I like when a tale speaks of people, relationships, challenges, and adventures.

But I have an easier way with words than with people, and too often in my writing, the prose shines modestly while the characters jerk about like puppets.

Is it too much to want to be a writer whose prose is both serviceable and beautiful, whose characters capture a reader's imagination and heartstrings and never let them go? If it is, I fear I shall be a wanting woman for the rest of my life. 
3) Rereading this old favorite has made me itch to start writing again. I have determined to make some time for it, crafts and expos and trips or no.
Tags: books, that thing called writing

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