Monday, April 9, 2012

Some people should not write....

I have said before that any one can write, but I also believe that some people should never write anything more substantial than a grocery list. IF you cannot get a point across, meaning if you put something in words and people who read it are confused-you have no word control. If you can't tell a story, chances are writing it isn't going to help. Chances are- because there are people who get in front of even small groups and can't speak or they lose the ability to transfer what they see/know into oral components. This is different from simply not having the vocabulary to convey a thought.
Lately I have read some feeble attempts at "writing" a story, when in fact they are rewriting something already done on TV, not fan fic, that at least has some pseudo rules attached to it. This was a blatant re-do of an episode the way they wanted to see it. Okay, so it's writing and any writing is good writing...except for this. I am pretty sure my girls have a better vocab than what was used, when I suggested a thesaurus, they had no clue why you would use one "when it's just another dictionary."
Really?? That alone says volumes. Go back and take a look at a basic English book. Learn more than one word for things then try it again. It also helps if you have never lived any where except for the house you're in, in the town you're in, surrounded by the same people for your whole life-that you not try to write about someplace that is the polar opposite of this. Write what you know, not what you have never seen. Do your research. Know the place as well as you know your own kitchen. This too is not all inclusive. There are those creative souls who can sit and do the research, surround themselves with the essence of Morocco and write a beautiful moving piece. The exceptions are there, but generally...yeah, some people just shouldn't write.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Research is your Friend

I had to laugh, last night I'm on the phone with an editor/writer/friend of mine and she is editing a story for someone who very obviously did not do enough research. I've also had this happen. I'm reading along and then this piece will leap and nearly scream at me and I have to ask the question- did you do any research at all?? And of course the answer is usually no.

So...if you haven't done the research, or at least did a quick google of whatever it can you write about it? You lose credibility with your readers which is the first step to being a dusty cover on your own bookshelf. If you are writing sci-fi or fantasy, you do have some leeway, but you have to give the reader your world, and then stay with it. You can't go from jet-packs to driving a 57 Chevy and expect to have people stay with you. Like wise, if it's a definite period of time, make sure you check your sources, pull up old newspapers and look for the ads. I recently found one for a well known eatery that used to serve a roast beef dinner with 2 sides and a drink for 3.95. Oh to have those days back. It was also the days of bell bottom jeans and things with fringe( don't ask) if you weren't born until 1990, you may never have seen any of these images- you need to do some recon before you write.