One of the things I love about the writing profession is that there is absolutely no ceiling to it. No end to the improvements that can be made — to either a story or my grasp of the craft. Every time I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, to be more accurate), I am looking not just to write a book but to make it better. Stronger. More gripping. And so I am forever seeking new ideas, not just for the stories themselves, but for the writing that will make those stories the very best they can be.
But while many authors are able to analyze writing, figuring out the underlying structure and mechanics, I am not one of them. Any learning I do from reading is purely by osmosis…which, frankly, isn’t very efficient. That’s why I’m supremely grateful to have writers out there who have done the analysis work and are willing to share their knowledge through blogs, workshops, books, and/or lectures.
This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting such a writer when New York Times bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire came to Ottawa for an all-day workshop. Smart, funny, and engaging, Roxanne divided the day into two segments, spending the morning on revision tips and the afternoon on pacing. The material was concise, clear, and broken down in a way that created a paradigm shift in my thinking. Years of her own learning distilled into a single day. It was pure magic.
Seriously, I could feel my brain synapses rearranging themselves as I listened.
Will I use everything Roxanne talked about? Probably not. But I’ll incorporate those things that resonated with me, and I’ll grow just a little bit more in my craft because of them.
And then I’ll go looking for more, because the whole mind-expanding thing? It’s addictive, I tell you. 😉