Road Trips are inevitable when you live in the middle of nowhere. Occasionally, you need to make a long distance journey elsewhere, sometimes through lots of snow, to reach a point where other writers are gathered to share secrets... secrets about the craft of writing.
Today, I had company with me, on my two-hour car ride from Owen Sound to Orillia, to attend The WCSC (Writers' Community of Simcoe County) Meeting. A writer friend, Diane, asked to tag along with me because she was interested in meeting our key-note speaker, Susan Swan. Susan had been Diane's mentor in the Humber College Writing Program, many years ago. What a small world it truly is.
Susan Swan, a Toronto novelist is an amazing speaker. She has been a published author and creative writing teacher for over 30 years. She has published novels in 15 different countries and has had her novels translated into eight different languages. A few of her novels have been made into motion pictures (shown in 32 countries) and they have also won many literary awards. She is a graduate of McGill University and has taught at University of Toronto, York University, Guelph University and Humber College.
To write a novel is one thing, but to make your reader feel pure emotion while reading your novel, whether it be frustration, anger, sadness, love or even a little happiness, this is something to be proud of. You need to affect the reader in a significant way... in a way that will cause them to come alive and want to talk about it. It, being your novel. And, if they talk about your novel, you, as a writer and author, have done your job. Sounds so easy, doesn't it?
I love these quotes from two brilliant authors... Frank Kafka and Stephen King, about writing books:
10 Things Readers Demand From Writers:
Sometimes, it takes some time to find the perfect place for you to create the perfect writing piece.
Whether you're working on a novel or a short story, you need a place to call your own, where the words will flow like cream soda into the glass... easy and fast. The problem is, today you created the best poem or story, while seated in the quiet library, but tomorrow, when you arrive at the same place, you may experience a totally, different feeling. Your writing has become blah! The words are not going together like peanut butter and jam, it's now going together, more like peanut butter and green olives. Basically, it just doesn't work at all. Therefore, you need backup plans.
I'm lucky, I happen to have three offices in my house, all complete with a desk, a chair and a light, surrounded by bookshelves. I also have a desk in my bedroom, just in case the mood strikes, while I'm supposed to be sleeping. With that said, I find the words flow better in weird places, like if I'm curled up in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fireplace in the basement, or sitting in a lawn chair in the backyard under a big tree, or at a picnic table in a local park, all while writing by hand with a blue ballpoint pen (yes, it has to be blue). For me, I'm more creative when using cursive writing, with my hand trying to keep up with all the awesome thoughts going on in my head. It's rough to keep up sometimes, but I think I'm happier when I'm writing that way. Almost a creative genius. Okay, I'm stretching it a little, never a genius, but always creative.
I love reading everything... books, magazines, blog posts and even manuals. I think if you want to improve your writing skills, you MUST be a verocious reader.