Friday, March 9, 2007

Tools of the Trade

Just like lawyers need law books, and doctors need medical manuals, a writer has many tools of their trade. For me, my greatest tool is reading the type of literature I like to write. Two of my favorite authors are Stephen King and James Patterson for their ability to take an idea and turn out beautifully crafted prose that both frightens and entertains me. After reading one of their books, I don’t want to turn the lights off and I’m leery of any shadow or movement. Once I start reading a King or Patterson book, I can’t put it down!

I want to be able to write like both of these brilliant authors. My writing interest lies in writing literary pieces based on characterization rather than plot. I recently submitted two of my short stories to magazines. One tale is about a woman going to any lengths to be someone else. My second story shows the dark side of being a twin. By reading what I like to write, I was able to turn out a few interesting stories of my own. I’m still waiting to hear back but, no matter the outcome, I know I’ve submitted my best product.

Another tool of writing is involvement with a writer’s community. At the present moment, I am a member of an online writer’s community where we exchange ideas about writing and post works to be critiqued. Because the critique section is password protected, I feel assured that my writing is read and critiqued by others who are serious about this art. My next step is to either find a local writing group, or to create one. Either way, my online writing community will remain a necessary tool for the support I give to and receive from writers all over the world.

I am excited about attending an upcoming writer’s workshop later this month by a published writer. I have been told to bring either my laptop or plenty of paper. As a writer, it is important that I work hard to perfect my writing skills. Writing workshops and seminars are excellent tools. Besides learning about how to make my work product better, I will congregate with other writers of varying skill level.

Finally, I try to write something every day. Writing is what a writer does. I've dusted off the first daft of a novel I wrote 10 years ago. I want to continue writing short stories on a regular basis and submitting them for possible publication. My goal is to write at least 1000 word per day. Well, now that I’ve written these 4oo some odd words, I’d better get to work on meeting my word goal for today…

© 2007 Susan Littlefield

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