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ARTICLES ON WRITING


TITLE: Cooking With Words
By Stevie McHugh
05/01/07
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I'm hoping my current writing phase is like cooking stuffed pork chops. Patience is required. As they simmer, the chops are tenderized and the flavor of the onions and bell peppers seeps into them. Always worth the wait.

It's possible I'm in denial and have some kind of writerís block. When I sit down to write a story -- even though in my head, it seems fully developed -- the wrong words come out. I'm aiming for writing that tingles the senses, but all that comes out is blandness.

Perhaps this is the time to focus on reading. I admire G. K. Chesterton's work. These opening sentences in The Man Who Was Thursday are poetic and brave: "The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and rugged as a cloud of sunset. It was built of bright brick throughout; its skyline was fantastic, and even its ground plan was wild."

I would probably have changed that first sentence, though, because I always use AutoCrit (www.autocrit.com). This favored tool would have prompted me that the word "sunset" is used twice. But so far, I haven't written anything as interesting as G. K. Chesterton's stuff to plug into AutoCrit.

Perhaps I've been so busy analyzing bits of my work, Iíve been distracted from the flow of writing. Gwendolyn Zepeda, a local writer and quasi mentor, has written five books in the last four years, and all but one have been picked up for publication. Her advice is to get the entire book or story down first and then tweak.

Iím not sure what the cause of my difficulty is, but Iím gonna keep on cooking. One day, if Iím patient with myself and donít give up, my written words will be seasoned just right. Hopefully, theyíll be as flavorful as my stuffed pork chops.
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