Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Path to Create


A reader doesn’t willy-nilly wander just any path in your writing. He or she sprints, trudges, or aimlessly wanders in step with the journey you, as a crafty writer, have created to prod or enthrall the reader into. If you’ve plotted adeptly or strung your ideas on an unbroken string, the reader doesn’t get lost or shunted to the path of disbelief. This includes fiction where a major purpose of the writer’s task is to build suspense, throw in a red herring, or tilt the reader’s sense of balance.

Prose that is loose and unstructured loses the reader along with the writer.

Two writing concepts: “unity” and “flow” are often dressed or considered to be identical twins but really aren’t. “Unity” is a coherent journey that, more likely than not, takes the reader back to a character’s beginning in either time, space, thought, or location. “Flow” is pacing and markers along the reader’s journey that keeps he or she moving forward to the next page, the newest thought built on or created out of a previous thought, or the revelation of an underlying theme.

While Tarzan swung from vine to vine, he had to keep looking forward to determine if the next jungle tree was strong enough to hold his weight and offered a new vine able to swing in the direction he wished to travel. Each tree or vine could be a different native species. It didn’t matter. Writing instructors often use the analogy of a flagstone path. Each stone is of a different dimension and/or shape, yet together they “flow” in a direction that can be discerned and followed.

“Unity” is to make each tree or stone suggestive of the journey and provide for its accomplishment. Linkage is how you, as the writer, arrange and order the individual pieces. You as writer keep adding new things: Tarzan meets Jane. Tarzan reaches for a coconut. Tarzan avoids the swipe of a lion’s paw. You’re building Tarzan’s life. Giving the reader perspective and insight into Tarzan’s existence.

While Tarzan grows wiser, he ages. The sun dips below the horizon and dawn breaks to provide transition between days. A scrape on Tarzan’s leg first bleeds, the escaping blood coagulates into a clot, a protective scab forms, and then the healing process culminates when the scab dries up and disappears to leave new skin. Similarly, Tarzan’s life events are expounded upon and blended together like the transition of a healing wound.

But be on guard for tried-and-true words and phrases that may be convenient, but should be avoided. Example: “After having …” Having means the action has already taken place. The writer has indicated he or she is writing about the past. You would not say” “After having looked around the forest, Tarzan eyed a cypress.” Redundancy abounds. Use either “after” or “having.” “After looking around the forest, Tarzan eyed a cypress.” Or, “Having gazed about the forest, Tarzan eyed a cypress.”

Tarzan swung from a cypress to an oak and then to a palm tree. The coconuts were ripe, unlike two months previous. A single action ties together Tarzan’s journey and experience. There is both flow and unity. The logic is implicit and, while the writer keeps the reader on a unified journey, the flow is a separate entity for it may be fast, slow or impeded.

While the flow may vary, unity should be one coherent and constant path.

Author Donan Berg's latest novel, Adolph's Gold, will be available March 13, 2014 at major e-book retailers, and www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/398225 . Not willing to wait until March 13 to read a sample, go to www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/398225 for a free sample read. Pre-orders are $2.99, the lowest available price. Expect price to increase after release.

Also now out, Author Donan Berg's latest short story, Amanda, $0.99 cents, at www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/405595 . If you e-mail a copy of a pre-order receipt for Adolph's Gold don@dotdonbooks.com from Barnes and Noble, Apple, or Kobo, you'll be given
a coupon for a free download of Donan Berg's short story Amanda.

If you enjoy either Adolph's Gold or Amanda, please write a review.



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