Monday Blog Game: Writing as Craft

I didn’t originally realize that writing was a craft.

I thought writing meant “telling stories.”

My first completed manuscript attempted to tell a story I made up – the fictional history of Borte Ujin, senior wife of Genghis Khan. The agents who read the manuscript offered nearly identical feedback: great idea, solid pacing, interesting voice – but the characters are flat and uninspired.

I wrote another book, adding dialogue tags and descriptive adverbs galore.

And once again, I was told my characters seemed merely two-dimensional.

It wasn’t until much later – years down the line – that I recognized the problem. Characters require more than dialogue tags. They need a fully-realized world and lives that started before page 1 and continue after “the end.” (Unless they’re dead.)

This realization sparked my interest in writing as a craft – in learning to do more than just put a story on a page. Good writing requires growth and constant effort to improve.

A writer can learn until his or her dying day.

I’m on a never-ending quest to improve my writing and push my prose to a higher state. For me, that means a three-pronged approach: I read, I write, and I analyze written words (my own and those of other authors). It’s difficult, and time-consuming, but in the end the results are more than worth it.

12K Coffee

How do you feel about writing as craft? What steps do you take to improve? Do you have a favorite author whose writing inspires you, either as a reader or as an artist?