Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: The Writing Path
By Sharon Eastman
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In the world of literature reading and writing go hand in hand. As small children, we learn to sight-read words then sound out the rest. From that point on many of us can hardly get our noses out of a book. It’s really a delightful addiction when we find ourselves reading ketchup bottles, old notes, and sodden newspapers. Like a honeybee that sips the flower’s sweetest nectar, we return to the sweetness of literature whenever possible.
After reading comes the art of writing. We take words and form sentences, paragraphs, stories, and books. Sometimes we scratch our heads and think; the words are strangled in our brains. Sometimes words flow like a river from our brains to the paper, and we can hardly stop the flow. Some can write compulsively; some, like the proverbial tortoise, are slow and pensive. Writing is fun, yet it is hard work. Writing is a challenge; yet some authors are so naturally skilled, it seems easy. To create scenes, characters, plots that make sense and titillate the reader’s senses takes skill, imagination, and a godly talent.
In my opinion small children work their hardest at reading, spelling, handwriting, writing thoughts, and short stories. Something intuitive told me I had special ability in literature when I was in third grade. My reading skills were excellent, and I loved to read – The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, and comic books.
At that time we were learning to form our thoughts onto paper, and the teacher assigned us to write a story. I beamed when she picked my story about a little squirrel as an example to the class. She pinned it on the bulletin board, and I was so proud. My childhood technique needed lots of nurturing to bring my dreams of a writer to fruition. Like tarnished copper, natural talent needs to be buffed and polished.
Anyone, who likes to write dreams of writing that number one bestseller that spins the world. We hold our dreams; yet often settle to writing devotions, magazine articles, and short stories. These are excellent accomplishments, but still that dream lingers. On that path to quality writing we take classes, enter contests, and read books. It is my premise that reading books, especially the classics, is the best method to attain writing enhancement.
Vivid characterizations step out of the pages and into your life in many classics. Scarlet O’Hara of Gone with the Wind is entrenched in my brain as the fiery tempest whose secret love besets her. Her beauty, her industriousness, and her wit forever branded my mind. The author, Margaret Mitchell, brilliantly brought to life this scheming enchantress. Gustave Flaubert wrote the character of Madam Bovary with outrage yet empathy. She was strong in a world full of sorrow. The end of her life was her retribution for hedonistic living.
Plotting of the highest quality is important in writing. My first reading of The Good Earth by Pearl Buck astounded me. I practically ate the pages. Her story of an indigenous’ man’s rise to wealth was rich and tightly told. In Lonesome Dove, a modern classic and the story of a western cattle drive, the plot twists and winds thoughtfully to our delight.
Lush settings are described in most of James Michener’s books. The cold, wild climate and the dark winter nights are artfully illustrated in Alaska. Centennial portrayed the climate and culture of America over 100 years ago.
It is agreed that characters, plotting, and settings are the most important components of a well-written novel. The most famous, special, spiritual handbook is the Good Book, the Bible. It magnificently pertains to all issues of life - birth, death, love, suffering, wars, and glorious salvation through Jesus Christ. We can learn characterization by studying David; plotting by the story of the Exodus; and settings by the Psalms. Most of the beautiful metaphors and similes are in the Psalms. “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” Psalm 29:3 (KJV)
The Bible is not a textbook, but many things can be learned from the Bible. Many versions are available, but I enjoy the poetry and rhythm of the King James Version for memorization. Excuse my finite mind in describing the Bible. Its majesty and power is infinite. Yes, it is an awesome teacher in all things.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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