Updated: Oct 24, 2018
TABC is excited to welcome author Amy Beatty onto the Writing Tips blog!
A little about the author:
Amy Beatty grew up in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park as part of an experiment in crossing the genes of a respected research biologist with those of a grammar aficionado. She spent her childhood making forts under the sagebrush with her friends and catching garter snakes by the creek to populate elaborate sandbox villages.
Her debut novel, Dragon Ascending, is reminiscent of a classic fairytale in which a brave hero sets out to slay the dragon, rescue the missing king, and win the love of the beautiful princess—except the hero is a dragon, the king isn't entirely sure he wants to be rescued, and the dungeon keeper is hiding a secret that will change everything.
Amy's debut novel, DRAGON ASCENDING RELEASES TODAY! Request it at your local library or purchase it HERE.
Writing Tip- Practice, Practice, Practice....
One of the hard truths about writing is that doing it well takes practice. A lot of practice. And not just any practice either, it takes good, hard, focused, intentional practice.
But the good news is this: everything is practice—or at least, it can be.
Good writing incorporates many different elements layered and blended to flow so seamlessly that readers don’t even see them because they’re so caught up in the story.
At perhaps the most visible level, the writer molds the content of the story itself—the characters, settings, conflicts, plots and subplots, motivations, stakes, backstory, dialogue, theme, and so forth.
At a deeper level, the writer tracks the structural elements that unify all that creative content into a cohesive story, such as point of view, scene structure, effective exposition, pacing, regulation of dramatic tension, etc.
And finally, there’s the mechanical level that, when done well, becomes all but invisible to the reader. This layer consists of using grammatical structure, spelling, vocabulary, syntax, punctuation style, and voice that are appropriate to the story.
If this sounds like a lot to juggle at once, that’s because it is. This is one reason most writers create their stories in multiple drafts, refining each of these elements a little more in each draft. It’s also why it’s helpful to break storymaking down into elements like this and practice each element individually.
Fortunately, life offers a lot of opportunities to practice, and not all of them involve sitting at a desk with pen (or word processing app) in hand and writing words. You can practice wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
On a bus ride, a writer might practice setting by evaluating the interior of the bus or the scenery through which the bus is traveling. How would you describe what you see? What other senses could you employ in your description—what do you hear, what do you smell, what textures or temperatures do you feel? If you had to boil that scene down to only three sensory details that would most make the setting come alive, which three would you choose?
Perhaps instead you might observe the people on the bus. Where do you think they are going? How can you tell? What might motivate their journey? What might be at stake for them if the bus broke down? That makes great practice for writing characters. Even better? What would the ride look like from that person’s point of view? How might their point of view be different from yours? How might it be the same?
Chances to practice are all around you. Practice using clear syntax and grammar every time you write an email. Practice writing dialogue when you text your friends. Learn story structure from that television show you love. See if you can figure out why other people think or feel the way they do. See how well you can articulate your own motivations.
Everything is writing practice—or it can be.