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DCS on Writing

DCS on Writing

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Published by DCS
Sci-fi thriller author DCS on the craft of writing.
Sci-fi thriller author DCS on the craft of writing.

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Published by: DCS on Dec 20, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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As most of us writers do, I have a subscription to a few writers’ magazines, and I’m always reading articles related to the craft

in an effort to improve my writing from any angle. Typical story in the life of a writer. What I came across in my recent edition of The Writers Magazine (which is the shit btw) was an article by fellow author Randall Silvis entitled “Write to connect with readers.” The article inspired a few mixed feelings and since I know a little something about the topic matter, I felt compelled to blog about. There is a lot of good advice for writers in Silvis’ article. In a nutshell he discusses how writers should tell a story from the heart. Our job as writers is to suck our readers in emotionally, and keep them glued to those pages through whatever means of emotional manipulation we can muster. We must take our head out of it, and stop trying to lecture our readers through our fiction, or write droll, sententious monologues that might get analyzed in a literary class one day, but the reader can’t understand. Silvis’ point is for us writers to write from our heart with, to quote him directly, “as much sensitivity to life as you can muster.” You should not as a reader have to put in any effort to understand a writer’s work, and I completely agree. But, there a few points Silvis makes that I completely disagree with him on, and to me is steeped in old world thinking. And as you should know by this point, I’m full steam ahead to the new world. In one paragraph he writes, “When was the last time you read something and thought gee I didn’t know that about the human condition….but for any reader with a few books under his belt and access to the nightly news, there is little left in this world that can truly surprise us.” For me, that is an incredibly sad statement and presents a problem I believe we as a whole are rectifying right now. How many times are we going to read the same old story? Sure a lot, sure we’ll keep buying the cheesy romance novels, the crime stories with that great detective and the evil serial killer that makes us tremble. We’ll read the horror stories about the goblins and the demons because we love a good scare. But I ask; is anybody bored yet? When we pick up those books, aren’t we secretly hoping there will be something new inside those pages? Something a little different? Something that does bring back that child like wonder and make us rethink the world? New Moon sucked us in not only with its love story but with a slightly different twist on the age old vampire and werewolves tale. We stood in line for Harry Potter books because we’d never been in a world quite like that before. And in Synarchy, I will pull back the veil on the world you think you live it and show it to you through new eyes. It will squeeze at your heart, pull an infinite variety of emotions out of you. And it will hurt your head. The whole time your brain will be actively engaged, working in close correlation with the emotions speeding through you, and when you turn the last page, if you don’t say “Wow” or some variation thereof, then I’ve failed to do my job. The second paragraph in Silvis article that made me twitch stated, “The world is not the way we want it to be. That’s the dilemma we wake up to every morning. And once we become reconciled to the impossibility of making the world a little more like the way we think it should be, we lose the need to re-create the world through fiction.”

That’s probably the most depressing thing I’ve heard in a while and speaks to a much deep problem but I’ve rambled about that in enough blog posts. Let’s apply this to writing. To say that fiction cannot engage both our minds and our hearts I think is bullshit. I think it’s boring. I think it leads to the same story being retold, over and over again. Sure, we’re lazy. Sure, you pick up a book and want to leave the real world behind for a while. Our fiction is a plug for the lacking we find in ourselves. A chance to be someone we think we can never be, to go have an adventure we think we can never have. But, in all the fantastic worlds we’ve visited shouldn’t the most memorable leave us with some clue as to how to draw the very magic that made us spend the money, stay up all night and turn the pages, with some hint of how to bring that into our own lives? If you put down Synarchy and you still don’t have a clue, I’ve failed. I will not just entertain, I will awaken. If I have not turned your abstract curiosity into a sudden tsunami for more, once again, I have failed. You will connect with the characters of your choosing, because I have thrust them into the world in the same state of forgetfulness that you find yourself in. The first book is a little bit of a workout, but the emotional payoff is there, Silvis and I can completely agree on that. If you don’t feel it, who cares if you thought it. If I can’t move both your heart and your mind, I’m another five dollar paperback novel, among the thousands just like me, telling the same old story with a new set of characters. This is not meant to diss those other writers, I love my cheesy romance novels just like most other women, but why shouldn’t we as writers strive to do more for you? Why shouldn’t we not only entertain you but make you think, so just maybe you realize that the magic in the world doesn’t stop with the last page of Synarchy. It continues on, with you. We should never stop striving to change the world, to make it as we want it to be, magical creations, beautiful reflections of the love in our hearts. When our fiction no longer inspiries us to keep dreaming, intending and creating, what are we reading it for? If you put down my novel, maybe have a small headache from the brain exercising, but suddenly believe in the possibility of practical magic, I’ve done my job. And first, I wrote for you with my heart. Then, I wrote with my head. Why settle for anything less.

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