The craft of writing has more to do with technique than many would wish to think. Anyone can sit at a keyboard and plop down words like so many random cow patties in a field teeming with cattle. Writing isn’t a matter of fancy thought. It isn’t the whimsical journal of an undisciplined mind. Writing is a straight and true path—a deliberate course—a race to the finish line.
It begins at the beginning with an idea. There is no meandering here. There is a starting gate that is mounted in a firm spot—directly atop that single, fascinating idea. And then the writer bursts forth from the gate and heads for the first hurdle. He keeps his eyes fixed just beyond that hurdle without losing sight of it. The first hurdle is that opening line—the hook. That juicy collection of words that will seduce the reader to bite deeper. The writer approaches the hook with clear thought and determined grit. He will conquer or die trying. He leaps at it with all his heart and clears it. Adrenaline surges through him as he tastes the rightness of each word rolling across the screen.
Off in the distance he sees a hill. It is steep and rocky. But the path runs true. He will return later to follow all the little twists and turns that veer off from the main path but for now his course is set for him. At the crest of the hill is another hurdle—the climax. It won’t be an easy task to jump this one. It is daunting. It is made of all the combinations of thought that will keep the reader from becoming bored and closing the book. The writer grunts his way along the uphill trail and pulls himself over the obstacle. He lifts his head and his spirit soars.
Stretched out before him is the down-side of the hill and the hurdle that will mark the resolution of his journey. Renewed energy drives him to straighten his shoulders, suck in a deeper breath and drive forward to the end. And then it is finished. He has completed the book. But the journey isn’t over. He must retrace his steps and follow all the side-trails he ignored. He must find ways to weave them into the story—to bring them back to the main trail. And when it is finished, he will site back and smile.
He didn’t dance through meadows filled with flowery thoughts. He didn’t meander through still pools of crystal water. He trudged forward. He stayed true to the path. He completed the work through determination. And in doing so, he wrote the book.
Donna Fawcett is a creative writing instructor at a local college in Ontario, Canada and an award winning writer. She writes romance, mystery, suspense and thriller novels. She is also a freelance writer and has been published in national and international magazines. Donna speaks at conferences and shares her love of writing with elementary and high school students as she involves them in classroom writing workshops. Her books Fires of Fury (an e-book by Awe-struck books), Redeemed, The Adam & Eve Project and Vengeance (Word Alive Press – print books) can be found at http://www.authordonnadawson.com or at your local book store.