Many believe a writer’s voice on paper should replicate the voice they hear during normal everyday conversation. I don’t.
During my college years at VSU, I had a Shakespeare and Expository Writing professor named, Dr. Garnett Lloyd Mack. He was the epitome of a brilliant scholar. By the time my senior year arrived, I had come to appreciate his philosophy on elevated writing.
Written words are to embrace the reader.
My blog post, How Did You Get Your Style, not only compared screenplay writing to novel writing but talked to some extent about words. Words are available to everyone, so how do great writers use them to make their work great? How much time should a writer spend on one sentence or paragraph to make sure it’s the best use of words and tells that unforgettable story?
I don’t possess an endless vocabulary like Michael Baisden or Cornel West appear to have, so I use a thesaurus. Oh my, have I committed the ultimate writer’s sin? Every writer wants to write that page turner people can’t put down. I realize I can’t please every reader’s taste, but I have changed countless sentences, countless times in hopes of elevating my writing for you, the reader.
Some readers can only stomach middle school level writing, while others prefer spicier, intellectual, more sophisticated writing. There is nothing wrong with the later, but when reading a 350 page novel, having a dictionary nearby may make you want to puke.
A Cry Among Men – The Novel is a fictional look at Don Wilcox’s horrific encounter with racism. It is a different perspective of the times in which we are living. In telling the story, I don’t try to mimic Tony Morrison or Maya Angelou or James Baldwin. But as a writer building his literary legacy, what will make you want to read more? Or dismiss it as less than quality reading?
Of the sentences below, I give two ways to craft a sentence in a story. Neither is wrong, but which writing style keeps you on the page?
A) It was the place where lots of money is made and the rich became richer and more powerful.
B) It was where many say morally offensive amounts of money, headlines and economic power are created or transferred on a daily basis, moving us nearer to an oligarchic society.
A) Many were happy with the idea of progress while others laughed.
B) There were those who applauded the notion of progress while many cachinnated at the idea.
A) She’d perfected tatterdemalion.
B) She was a rough, run down woman.
A) Don sat in darkness and stared out the window.
B) Fraught with self inspection, Don sat in darkness and stared out the window.
A) She stepped in and owned the truth for them.
B) She agreed.
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A Cry Among Men – The Novel coming soon…