Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What is great writing?

All writers strive to be the best they can. We spend countless hours thinking and dreaming, outlining and storyboarding. We clack away at the keyboard. We revise, submit, and do it all over again. But what makes some writing better than others? In my opinion, its the connection readers feel to the characters.

As a reader, you want to feel the deep connection with the characters in the book. That's what keeps you turning the pages. You may feel like they're your best friend, someone you could pick up the phone or meet on the street and have an ordinary conversation. Sometimes, the characters or story evokes a feeling of days gone by or of long ago friendships and memories. At any rate, you feel a connection. Connection is key.

As a little girls, my earliest experience with this was the book, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I jumped into it with both feet. As the story progressed, I was to the point I read awhile and sobbed awhile. It really touched me partially because I'm a huge dog lover, but also I felt a connection to the characters and events. I still have the book on my shelf and as crazy as it sounds, I won't let it go from my collection, but I may never read it again. It's engrained in my memory and I can't put myself through it at this point in my life. How powerful writing can be!

Fast forward many years, and a recent example is a PSB TV Series my husband and I are watching. We are so caught up in the story and characters, we talk about them later. What if he did....or do you think she's going to...or I sure hope it works out for so and so. I actually wake up thinking about these people with concern or happiness. Once again, the written word is powerful. Those words were just acted out in front of a movie camera. From what I've heard, it's a similar experience. It all starts with a writer and a connection felt to the characters.

There are many, many great writers today in all genres, but a some writers are just a notch higher. They write things you just can't shake. You dwell on them for weeks, months, and in the case of Where the Red Fern Grows, decades. My goal is not to be a good writer or a great writer, but an exceptional writer. Is it an attainable goal? Time will tell. In the meantime, I just keep plugging along, learning all I can, clacking away on the keyboard, and following Dolly Parton's advice, "Think big, dream big, pray big!" Seems my bases are covered.

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