By Beth Crosby
Rock Hill Chapter Member
Everyone is not a writer. Those of us who enjoy writing generally find a genre that is comfortable. We believe we are good at it.
Serving as a reporter and then editor on the high school newspaper, my aspiration was to be a newspaper reporter. I didn’t have the personality for broadcast news. But I honed the skill and became a capable professional newspaper reporter and then editor. I can write a news story in the inverted pyramid fashion without giving the format much thought. However, writing a feature story is a challenge. The format is different. The goal is different. And the reader expects a different feel from this kind of story.
Each of us writers can improve our writing by trying styles that are UNCOMFORTABLE for us. After reading poetry, I knew I didn’t “get it” on a symbolic and emotional level. But during an emotionally charged time in my life, I found that the best way to convey my feelings was through the medium of poetry that takes fewer words with more punch. And weeks or months later I read, revised, polished and edited. A couple of writers groups liked one, especially. I might enter it into a contest, although I am no poet.
As I began to write a fiction story, I put the most important facts at the top. That’s how my mind works. But it made for a BORING story. So I did what I know and collected the facts, did research and then worked with another writer to present the action first, color in the back story and weave other subplots in as they were relevant. And it’s a stretch.
In the September post, I recommended prompts. This is to me, a rope that pulls me out of my rut. So I challenge you: Write a paragraph or two of a romance novel. It can—and perhaps should be—as outrageous as you can imagine. Stretch your imagination. What would the characters do if they were pushed, loved, ravished, lonely? Do you see that this could be an exercise in creativity? Frankly, as I write this, I know that writing a romance would be a challenge for me. So I must take that challenge and formulate a contrived story from beyond my own reality. A horror would be far, far beyond my reach—or my desire for that matter. But could I do it? Could I write a paragraph of sci-fi or mystery? If I tried, I could write it. The text might not be worth reading, but the attempt gets the creative momentum moving and sets off other ideas more in my comfort level. Or I might find that I have talent for writing in more than one genre!
Write something different this week. I dare you!
Beth Crosby is a freelance writer and editor based in Rock Hill, SC. She contributes to several blogs, including her own, dialysisgal.wordpress.com, and writes a monthly column for YC Magazine in York County. You may contact her at EditorBethCrosby@gmail.com.