With writing, I receive a lot of help from my critique partners. Not only do they tell me what’s not working about a book, but they suggest how I might fix it. They also tell me what is working, so that I am careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Then I receive more help from my editor because I am lucky enough to have one! Good editing is key.
There are so many elements of writing craft: understanding and showing the characters’ goal, motivation (why they have the goal and why they think and act the way they do), and conflict (what stands between them and achieving their goal, both internal and external obstacles). Then there’s character arc (how they change and develop), and story structure, which has its own set of elements. Setting, dialog tags versus character movement, point of view, deep point of view, and so on. I think any writer who has been a member of Romance Writers of America for a while could jump on any of these when critiquing a writer’s work. With all those elements, many things can go wrong, but assuming you have those things right, well then it comes down to artistic choices among multiple right choices. Even at the sentence level, there are multiple ways of saying the same thing. One writer is going to choose to arrange a sentence one way and another will choose another way.
For me, getting to the artistic-choice stage is incredibly rewarding and exhilarating. Getting to choose is worth all the work and frustration involved in learning to write and in producing books.
I went out with a group of four photographers yesterday in New York City, all of them professional. I have been learning all kinds of technical tricks with my camera and some artistic suggestions, but ultimately the choices I make are my own. When I get home and look at my photos, which ones do I like? How do I want to develop them? I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near mastering the craft, so some things are “wrong,” but each of us who posts photos is making choices, and even for amateurs, that is fun and interesting.
Some of the images below are not perfect, I know that, but I still like them. That’s what I find interesting–why did I choose these images?
The first one reminds me of the famous painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. My photo is not very much like that painting, but for some reason, the scene reminded me of it. Our brains are so individual–we are reminded of or pleased by different things. I like the people sitting inside plus I like the colors, textures, lines, curves and that the scene looks three dimensional. This is my favorite photo in today’s group.
The next one is another favorite of mine. I like seeing people reading, looking at their smartphones, and talking, a slice-of-life moment in New York City.
Who doesn’t like a carousel? These are always so beautiful. The bunny was pointed out by two of the other photographers. It’s fun to see what artists notice. When I went up to take the photo, I was captured by the words on the horse’s saddle, Granny’s Folly, so I included that in the foreground.
I had to cut off the day early because I have a cold, but I made it out to our deck for a sunset photo.
Well those are my artistic choices for the day. Do you enjoy getting to make choices in whatever your specialty is? Whether it’s choosing a recipe, an outfit, how you will approach a work project, or choosing how you will tell a story, it all reflects your uniqueness.