Last weekend I met two “new” writers, two women who share common interests and goals with the rest of our chapter members. These ladies don’t just want to read romance, they want to write it. I didn’t get the chance to visit with each one as much as I would like. But one of the aspiring writers made the comment that she had so much to learn, and that stuck with me throughout the week. I wanted to tell her that’s true for all of us. No matter how long we’ve been writing, there’s still something to be learned about our craft.
For the new and not so new writer out there, I’d like to recommend a book I’ve found to be invaluable: Elements of Fiction Writing: Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. It’s published by Writer’s Digest Books, and I picked it up at Barnes and Nobles. It’s a short book, only about 172 pages, but it’s packed with useful information and terms that every fiction writer, regardless of genre, must understand in order to write well. For example, Chapter Fifteen covers “showing vs. telling” and gives some great examples to illustrate the difference. Chapter Seven describes techniques used to draw an emotional response from the reader. I especially like Chapter Two, which discusses the three questions readers ask:
Writers write because we believe we have something to say, a story to share that says something about the world we live in and about the human condition. As Card states, “If your fictional vision was a good and truthful one, your characters will help your readers understand their families, their friends, their enemies, and the countless mysterious and dangerous strangers who will touch their lives, powerfully and irresistibly.”
I’m sure some of you have other resources you can recommend. Care to share?