Dramaquill's All Things Writing

May 16, 2011

What is it that makes a really great writer great?

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Ever since I embarked on my writing  journey, I’ve read everything I could get my hands on where writing is concerned.

  •  Articles on show, don’t tell. 
  • Interviews with agents and editors on what works when submitting and what turns them off immediately. 
  • Discussions on POV

I’ve also been an active participant in two online critique groups, as well as joining writers’ organizations and attending writing conferences.

But I still have to wonder:  What is it that makes a really great writer great?

Here are a few things I think help contribute to a writer’s greatness:

  • unique voice
  • consistency in the writing
  • strong, solid plots
  • characters that behave like real people (readers can relate to them)
  • stories that surprise and entertain us
  • descriptive writing that immediately paints a vivid visual

Above all, however, I think it goes deeper than the ability to craft an amazing story. 

To me, a great writer is passionate about the entire process.  These aren’t just words on a page.  It’s time invested in painstakingly scupting every detail until it’s the absolute best writing it can be.  A great writer writes what stirs them up – stories they have to tell.

Don’t write to market trends.

Don’t settle for anything less than your best writing…ever.

Don’t sub pieces out without doing your homework on the publishers you’ve chosen.

But what is the biggest thing that makes a really great writer great?


May 31, 2010

I miss my characters

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I’ve spent a long time with the characters from my first suspense novel and I’ve come to know them as well as the “real” people in my life.

Eleanor, my heroine, is also a writer of suspense and she is enjoying much success with her books.  I can fast forward a few years and pick up her life as if it were my own.

Michael, Eleanor’s husband, has been a tougher character to create.  I wanted him to be one of those men only a handful of lucky women manage to connect with, and yet still be a believable 21st century male.  Michael’s character took on the most revisions before he became the man he needed to be.

Mel, my villain, was fun to write, yet often very scary.  Sometimes I wondered how his creepy thoughts kept surfacing inside the mind of someone like myself, a stable, very normal individual.  But I also enjoyed being able to step into the psychotic nature of a person like Mel and try to figure out what made him do the things he did.

As I write the pages of my newest book, I find myself wondering what Eleanor, Michael and Mel would do in the situations of my new plot.  I wish I felt the same intimacy with my new characters, but I know it’s only a matter of time before they too become as real to me as my original trio.

Do you write characters that you miss once you’re done with them?

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