Thoughts on writing

I believe in the saying; we all have a story within us.  I wish that everyone would get it out there so that I can read it.  Story telling is something that we have done since we walked out of the cave.  In fact we wrote our first stories on the walls of the cave.writingsoncavewalls

From time to time I think back to my first experience at writing something other than poetry.  It was the story behind the poem The Black Fire.  It was written because of the pro bono lawyer that was given to me after I was out celebrating the success of the poem The Black Fire and got arrested.

The end result for that night was me copping a plea (which I sincerely regret) at the advice of my pro bono lawyer.  After everything was said and done she made a snide remark as she was leaving “Hmm, since you call yourself a writer chalk it up to experience and make a story out of it.”

I was so angry that I faded to black. I went home and did just that.  I wrote The Black Fire the whole story.  I let my fingers fly until it was done! I have to admit that it was the hardest thing that I had ever done.

My satisfaction was petty.  I addressed her in that true short story (I would not say that it was in a good way).  Once it was completed I went back to that courtroom the next day and handed her a copy of it.  Also, I told her what page to go to (where I addressed her directly).  I stood there and watched her read it and she started crying.  I turned and left the courtroom.

The point for me in telling you the story is how writing that story changed why I write and the way that I write.  In my efforts to write that story I realized that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  Working it through to completion was excruciating.  My colonoscopy was easier and more enjoyable.

Writing is a craft, a skill that I had to learn.  That is if I wanted to convey what I wanted to say in the way that I wanted it to be received by the reader.  I know that I didn’t have a natural ability because of the success of my poetry.  That was simply dumb luck.  If I wanted to be a writer of any kind (poetry, essay, fiction and or nonfiction) I needed to learn how to do it correctly.

I appreciated the impact that first story had on people, even to this day I am asked to read portions of it at events.  I show up and step up.  A lot of people benefited from my experience and that’s why I wrote it (and for revenge on that pro bono female canine).  That is also when I learned the weight of the written word.

I became fixated on learning the craft of writing.  From that moment forth I have been a student in the art of writing.  I have an extensive library on the craft of writing, and an extensive library of both fiction and nonfiction; a lot of those books are Nobel Prize winning literature.

I’m sorry I digressed; let me get back to the point.

The first thing I realized about writing is that I had  to have a good working knowledge of grammar, punctuation and structure.  That is how the story reads and is perceived by the reader.  I was a kindergarten dropout.  I had to study grammar and punctuation to the point where it was ingrained in my being. That was where I started.  I bought a copy of both Elements of style  and English Grammar and Punctuation.  I give myself a refresher with one of them every once and a while and I learn something new every time.  I never use the computer’s spell and grammar check.  I do it myself.

Another great source for learning the craft of writing is one of my favorite websites.  You can download great books on writing for free.

After that I worked on my vocabulary.  Increasing my vocabulary is a never ending journey.  Whenever I write I have both a dictionary and thesaurus open.  I was surprised at how often I was misusing words.  I check the meaning of the words I use, even when I think I know for sure what it means and a lot of the time I have been wrong.  I use the thesaurus to help me eliminate redundancy.  It makes readers lose interest if the same words are repeated too often or too close together. The people who enjoy my writings (I think, is because of the fresh and vibrant wording I utilize.).  They never know what to expect from a story I have written.  Also, I use an Oxford dictionary when I am writing a period piece so that I am not using words in dialogue that weren’t used in that time period.

I try my best to be careful with homonyms.  That’s a hard one.  The first one that got me was peaked.  Here’s the  example.  That really peaked my interest.  I didn’t know that it should have been piqued.  There are a lot of them and I am sorry, but the spell and grammar check won’t fix it.  Once submitted, the copy editor will be chuckling as he or she is reading your your story and then they will probably make those quick fixes for you.

Now I’m going to make you chuckle with a few funny puns.

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.  Did you hear about the guy who had his whole left side cut off?  He’s alright now.  A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.  The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.  A Thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.  Remember this one fellow writer’s; to write with a broken pencil is pointless.


Finally folks there’s the editing.  Once you’ve got that first draft done, that’s when you refine it to make it exactly what you want it to be.   I will be doing another blog about that at another time.

Once you learn the craft of writing it will come easily and you will take it to a level of art that you will be proud of.  Also, you will have a ball every time you sit down to write.  It doesn’t matter how, pen to paper, voice recorder and or computer.  I can only hope that it will be as much fun for you as it is for me.

Peace and Blessings



~ by mspetrahenville on March 4, 2017.

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