Please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for January include: (1/5) Jennifer J. Chow, (1/12) Amy Pershing, (1/19) Heather Weidner, (1/26) Marilyn Levinson.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Gifted Writer by Kait Carson

Last week I treated myself to some shopping at Bogan Books, our local indie bookstore. The store is arranged in two rooms. The front room holds the checkout, various items of interest, and the bulk of the books. The rear, where you’ll usually find me, has the mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels. I was checking out the new releases when I heard a woman say, “Oh, try this series, she is such a gifted writer.” I looked around the mystery room. No one was there. The voice had to be coming from the front of the store.

 

Curious, I peeked through the entry. Much to my chagrin, (and delight since business was obviously good) I spotted four pairs of shoppers. All had books in hand. It was impossible to determine who made the gifted writer comment. The overheard remark made me wonder how the unknown author might feel. Gratified, and perhaps a bit amused.

 

I strongly suspect that every writer is gifted. The gift lies in the way an author selects and strings words together. The mechanics if you will. The innate ability to mix a jumble of words into a pleasing and satisfying stew that imparts information, elicits emotion, and makes the reader want more. Yes, that is a gift.

 

So, why would an author feel amused? To acknowledge only the gift is a little like believing the author waved a magic wand over the keyboard and the story sprang forth. Not happening. The story evolves through years of study of the craft. There is scene and sequel to master, building a world for your characters that is believable, the characters themselves must be dynamic. Then there are the ever-changing conventions of genre to learn and adopt. All of that is tradecraft. And it’s hard work. No author wants the craft to show. In a good story craft appears seamless and disappears behind the gift of words. After all, no one wants to see the sausage made.

 

The unknown reader paid the author the compliment of believing the act of writing came easily. The author, on the other hand, might quote Ernest Hemingway. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. As any writer will tell you, how you hide the blood is where the art and craft of writing collide.

 

Writers and readers, what do you think?

7 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I once had a reader bestow the "gifted writer praise" on my head, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing. I immediately recalled the first draft of my first novel -- a 144,000 word monstrosity filled with innumerable (and I am a numbers man) instances of abysmal writing.

Susan said...

I plan to close my eyes and believe it’s magic 😊

KM Rockwood said...

Wen it "sounds easy," we have done something right.

Kait said...

@Jim - oh, I so agree! We should all thank our lucky stars that readers don't see how the sausage is made :)

@Susan - good plan, I think that is the only course of action.

@KM - So true. It's wonderful to look at the authors we admire and think how effortless they make it look while knowing how much effort went into the final result!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

The result looks so easy, so "I just sit down and type it out, check for typos, and it's done." Writers know better.

Marilyn Levinson said...

So true, Kait. Writing a novel takes planning and getting the words down, then going over them again and again until they flow into a seamless story for the reader. Magic!

Kait said...

@ Margaret I did know one writer it was that easy for. My brother's father-in-law. He was a syndicated news columnist back in the day, had a radio show that he scripted, wrote books, and multiple articles. He had three typewriters in action at one time, each with a different story and at the end of the night - all were done. Oh, to have that particular talent!

@ Marilyn - Amen, Marilyn - and then when you see them in print you always think, "maybe I should have said this way."