Creative Practice

I had my son drop me off at the library today. I wanted to get the 2nd book in the Joust series, Atla. I’m not quite needing it yet, but I will be soon at the rate I’m going.

I’m excited about finishing the first book.

I no longer read critically, like we are all taught to do in school. Yes, it’s important to be able to read and understand something. But when a book is meant to be entertainment, trying to pull meaning out and decipher every metaphor and all that stuff is ridiculous. It’s a story. Meant to entertain. And, humor me for a moment and think about what “good writing” means to you? Does that mean every sentence is perfect (would you please define that?), that the grammar is flawless? Boring. Ask 1,000 people what the perfect book is and you’ll get 800 different books. Yes, some people will agree, but I’m betting fists will also start to fly as each person tries to defend their position about why it is good writing.

So what makes a good book? It’s a story that has entertained you and kept you inside the world the writer created for you. There is nothing that can be deduced from this. The book either held you or it didn’t. The writer entertained you or they didn’t.

Joust has been holding me down. For me, it’s been an entertaining story. So I’m excited to see what happens.

When I’m done, I’m going to go back over the book. I’ll sit down and type in the passages that delighted me in the story. Yes, I’ll put the words through my fingers so I can train my creative voice. Subconsciously, I will pick up on what Mercedes Lackey did to hold me in her story and my creative voice will then have more toys to play with. In the end, I hope it makes me a better writer. I don’t save the pages I type in. It’s just practice, like tracing a drawing that you like to learn from it.

Well, that started down a side road I hadn’t meant to take. Anyway, I walked home from the library. Dang it was cold out. Slick too. I’m really ready for the thaw. On the way through the park, I saw this little branch lying in the middle of the snow. It’s the picture above. In the upper left, you can see the trunk of a pine tree. It gave me a lonely sort of feeling being there in the unbroken snow. Beautiful, but alone.

Definitely time for spring.