Yearning, Grace & Beauty

December 18, 2011

My goal with my writing is to create pieces readers want to experience Voices you want to listen to. Problems you want to understand. Endings you’ll remember. Stories that might end up being possibly imbued with some grace and beauty. Maybe you’ll read them, and find some scenes of yearning and promise. But not because I build them that way. Instead, because you can look  back at them and find those things there yourself.

That’s never an easy thing – planning to be a writer who moves folks. Kind of prideful, if you take that approach, no? Do any new authors believe in themselves to that extent? Really? Perhaps. But me, I’d rather work my way into that state.

So I begin my stories by working with the visual, the physical and the visceral. That’s my way of writing: via these three things.  It serves me well enough that I can build on these aspects of craft in my storytelling. But the full trifecta of storytelling is the Craft, the Art & the Mechanics. Think of that, novice fiction writers, when you’re building your pieces. We can’t rely solely on art, or any one of the other two things it takes to end up with pieces that may have Yearning, Grace & Beauty.

Here’s an opening of one of the stories from Claiming One:

What Rikki remembers is jumping up off the couch for a Diet Cherry Pepsi as the commercial started. That and a wobble-feeling that strobed behind her eyes, just before the TV’s volume rose up to a crashing level and she dropped like a corpse onto the rough carpet, face first.

The walls shook from the BAM of her contact. For a slip of a girl, 103 lbs max, she made a big noise going down. A full four minutes passed before Sheppard flushed the toilet and found her, still out cold; the commercials done with and the TV news going full blast again about another body found in the Ramparts District.

Let’s say you want to go for a visual of your own – someone skipping. Good writing never means multi-syllable words or sermon type oratory. You may know how to spell (or at least look-up) the word ‘gambol’, but if you mean that the character skipped, then pause. Open up the dictionary and find definition of the “fancy” word you’re considering. After reading its definition –  Gambol, n, “To leap or spring, in dancing or sporting; now chiefly [written] of animals or children”.   If you use the online Oxford English Dictionary, besides the definition you’ll also see what years the word was commonly used, this one chiefly in use from to 1508 up to 1850.  In writing what we are after is detail, precision. We aim to bring the visual to life – Close the dictionary and use skip if you meant skip.

In future posts I’ll be discussing more about the Craft, the Art and the Mechanics of writing well. And of the other three aspects as well; the physical, the visual and the visceral. Maybe readers can comment on what they feel makes their stories work.

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2 Responses to “Yearning, Grace & Beauty”


  1. Thanks for all your tips, EJ–I’m trying to write some faction (memoirs with a fiction format) and this is good advice. Donna Cunningham

  2. ejrunyon Says:

    Stay tuned, Donna,
    I have another post coming up about how to get started if you’re a newbie to writing.

    Do you recognize any ‘modes’ of writing you use yourself for getting across the visual, physical or visceral in your work that you’d like to share?

    ~me

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