On Craft

SECOND SIGHT

See what others don’t. Connections, patterns, meaning, resonance, inspiration – all there for the knowing. 

 

The eye is a firehose inundating the brain with imagery the mind then converts into interpretive language. This translation is grounded in context, intent, and desire to connect; to represent with accuracy and imagination. Seeing is not merely recognizing what’s there but also what is circling just beneath the surface. 

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SNIFF TEST

Readers can sniff out a rat at twenty paces. Then out come the pistols. Are you giving them something, or looking for a hand out? Are you for real or are you black and white and fake all over? Writers need to show up bearing gifts. The reader has already given over their time and attention – if even just briefly – and they expect something in return. Something unexpected and enriching (or at least entertaining). Something honest and unabashed.

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MAKE THEM FEEL

When you touch someone, they feel it. And that is the point. To feel is to be moved. Moved off of a set way of thinking, seeing, being or judging. When you reach down into someone and pluck on their heart strings, music is created that reverberates. Sound moves in waves, pushing air before it – spreading out in all directions to affect and transform all within earshot. It’s not enough to share knowledge. The reader needs to know what to do with it. And how it can make their lives better, richer, deeper.

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EAR TO THE GROUND

The best writers have an ear. For language, for rhythm, for tone. They hear what’s being said, but also what’s being left out. When we say we “speak the language,” we mean we understand the vernacular – all the stylistic anomalies and nuances that ring true to the reader. At the bottom of it all is the authentic, heart-felt desire to communicate and share. To whisper truth to one another.

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TASTE = STYLE

Taste comes from hundreds of split second decisions that culminate in a style. In writing, these run the gamut from the perfectly placed word, the turn of the phrase, the elegant use of punctuation, the breaking of rules. Taste, unlike truth or authenticity, can remain fluid to appeal to those on the receiving end. Dialing into the “house style” for each given audience. It’s a bit like working as a translator determined to communicate not just the speaker’s words but their charisma and persuasiveness as well.

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