lish1936 wrote:I have two questions:
1) Will I, or can I ever expect to write fiction like so many of my fellow Faithwriters (including you) without developing an interest in that genre, even though some stories I've written have occasionally caught the judges' attention? Perhaps a better way to put the question: Despite all the wonderful lessons you so graciously share with us, if I don't enjoy READING fiction, will it affect my ability to skillfully WRITE it?
2) This question also applies to creativity and craftsmanship, but especially to word choices. I regret not reading more because I feel I've failed to expand my vocabulary by not doing so. Short of memorizing a Thesaurus, how can a non-reader expand his/her vocabulary?
Lillian, I have no idea how to answer this question--you've got me totally scratching my head. Why would you write in a genre that you do not enjoy? Are you entering the Writing Challenge only with the goal of winning? If that's your only goal, it seems as if you (and indeed, everyone who enters with that goal) will be disappointed nearly every week. Only a few pieces are singled out each week, and every week some excellent writers will be passed by. But if you enter the challenge with the desire to improve your own writing--you'd do better in a genre that you actually want
to write. You'll be more motivated to write, you'll feel more comfortable, and the comments and suggestions that you get will be more likely to help you to improve in writing that you actually enjoy. If you're writing a fiction piece with the thought, "I don't enjoy fiction" constantly in your mind--no amount of writing tips will keep that mindset from influencing your writing. Why not work to write such excellent nonfiction that the judges will sit up and take notice?
I can't help but think of a cooking analogy. I'm not a fan of Asian food. I suppose I could learn to cook Chinese food better than I do now--but why should I bother? My heart won't be in it, and I'll resent having to buy the rice steamer and the fish sauce and the wasabi; it's a waste of time, since I'll never really appreciate it, and I won't be motivated to be excellent at it.
But I love Italian food, and if I could learn to make an authentic tiramisu or fettucini alfredo, I'd be a happy, happy gal. I'd work very hard at it, and I'd listen carefully to experts in Italian cuisine. Well, I could draw this analogy out for several more sentences, but you get the idea. Put your resources toward doing something that you love.
To improve your vocabulary:
1. Read. If you don't like reading fiction, read non-fiction. Find works that are challenging to your reading ability, in topics that interest you, so that you'll be motivated to learn the meanings of new words that you encounter.
2. Go to freerice.com and take their daily vocabulary exercise. Not only will you be improving your vocabulary, but you'll also be helping to provide rice to hungry nations.
3. Google "increase your vocabulary." You'll find all sorts of resources--games, workbooks, flash cards. Find one that appeals to you, and go for it. Devote 5 or 10 minutes each day to vocabulary exercises.
4. Merriam-Webster.com has a word of the day email, and I'm sure that you can find other sites that will email you a word to learn every day. Here's the link, and you can find the signup at the bottom: http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/
5. If you don't want to do an online or email vocabulary exercise, you can go to your local bookstore and find word-of-the day calendars. You should be able to get a pretty good deal on a 2014 calendar by now.
6. Read, read, read, read, read.