"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Session #2: Being Considerate


Dear Tootles (I’m not writing to you, Mom and Dad, because I’m mad you didn’t come pick me up),

I’ve made a couple of friends this week and it turns out we’re all in the same place: we have a lot to learn about writing. Knowing that made me feel a little better.

I hope you are still enjoying your bone, Tootles. That reminds me of our lesson this week about being considerate. Who would have thought that was a requirement of being a writer? Well, I guess I have it in me because I considered you before I left for camp by giving you a bone. I wanted you to have fun even though I was gone. Coach Sol says writers need to think about our reader if we want them to enjoy our story. Just like you’re enjoying your bone, I guess.

I suppose I do want my reader to enjoy what I write. I mean, even if it is MY story, I don’t want to write it for just me. I want others to like it long after it’s out of my hands.

Coach Sol says it’s a writer’s job to give the reader an emotional experience. He said it’s not my fault I don’t already know how to do that (phew!) but that we are all raised with a traditional nonfiction mind-set. That means that when I have to write essays for school, or even letters like this one, I am writing to convey information, not to give the reader an emotional experience. I need to train my brain otherwise.

Coach Sol quoted E. L. Doctorow, who said that “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

I like that idea of feeling rained upon just by reading words on a page. Maybe I’ll stay at camp a couple more weeks and see what else Coach Sol has to say….



Love You Tootles (and you, Mom and Dad),

Your Trying-To-Be-Considerate-Camper   

    

Do you ever have trouble considering your reader? How do you remind yourself to do this? One great way to “make your reader feel rained upon” is to use the five senses. Do you have a favorite sense to use?




photo credit: stock.xchng

10 comments:

  1. I try to put myself in my character's shoes and look around. I try to see, taste, smell, feel and hear what he or she may be experiencing, then I traslate those feelings onto the page. My first novel is set in my hometown (only 150 years ago!), but there are still some great places that have remained fairly untouched. When I go for a bike ride or walk I go to those places and stand there and feel what my character might have felt so long ago. It's great for the creative juices!

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    1. So glad to meet another historical writer! I have to admit that's one of my favorite parts about research also, Gabrielle. I LOVE standing in a place that my character once had. Very neat!

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  2. Fun post! And cute pic. Reminds me of my golden as a puppy...aw.

    I try to use all five senses but sound and smell are my faves. :)

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    1. I realized after I posted that that was kind of a trick question. I also love using all the senses, but smell and touch are usually my favorites. :)

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  3. Oh, this is cool! A great way to look at being relatable in your manuscript. Be considerate to the reader. I like it!

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  4. Heidi,

    Yes, I'm working on thinking about my audience right now. :) writing is not an isolated process, is it? I love your creativity in this post.

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    1. Glad to hear that, Melanie! And thanks so much for the compliment. :)

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  5. Cute, Heidi! And I love to use the sense of smell, especially to define certain characters. There's something about scents that stick with us longer than anything else.

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