Daily Archives: January 21, 2011

Making the Words Disappear

The hardest part about writing isn’t coming up with a good story. It’s not even the sitting down to write it or editing later.

It’s making the words disappear. How can we when we’re concentrating so hard on structure, grammar, proper wordage, etc? As writers we’re supposed to see every word on that page, whereas as readers, we’re supposed to ignore them.

Which is why experienced writers say, “If you can easily point out a favorite paragraph or phrase in your story, it likely shouldn’t be there.” When something jars the reader away from the story, such as a florid statement (unless it’s said by a character — and the statement is within character), it might take a while for the reader to get back into the story. Or worse, the reader will set the book down.

So on the one hand, we need to be aware of every word on the page, yet at the same time make them disappear.

Here’s where a good story comes into play. If it’s intriguing, the characters likable and sympathetic, and not too much backstory/narrative to drag it down, then the reader won’t care about the grammar, sentence structure, et al.

Do I have any sage advice to make that happen? Not really, except write from the heart as well from the head. Don’t try to copy another writer’s voice, and don’t try to follow writing rules to the letter. Study proper grammar, etc., but also don’t be afraid to break those rules. If we follow them too stringently, our writing will appear stilted and dry.

I actually miss the days when I started writing and didn’t know a thing about it. Writing then was like finger painting to a child. It’s messy, there are no rules, and I could let my imagination run wild.

Now I’m overly concerned about whether or not my story is intriguing, my writing is above average, and the plot (and subplots) are strong enough to grab hold of a reader’s attention from the first page through to the last.

Ah, to be a kid again.

Then again, knowing that, perhaps I could convince myself that I’m writing for the mere fun of it, and not necessarily for public dissemination. Let my imagination go nuts in a sandbox of words.

Besides, the best part about writing is that it can always be fixed later.