Because the only thing I like better than successfully developing a series of blog posts is to start a theme and then abandon it, I’ve decided to start a Writers Doing it Right series. Part #1 is here
Nothing is more satisfying than to write a good sentence. It is no fun to write lumpishly, dully, in prose the reader must plod through like wet sand. But it is a pleasure to achieve, if one can, a clear running prose that is simple yet full of surprises. This does not just happen. It requires skill, hard work, a good ear, and continued practice.
I love this because it focuses on my favorite part of writing – the refining process. The challenge for me is flowing an idea through the medium of language to leave the reader full of comprehension.
“Simple yet full of surprises” is fantastic – achieving surprise in writing is usually a matter of avoiding cliche, slipping in allusions, and rarely using the first word that comes to you when you try to fill in a blank. Use a word that took you a minute to think of, but that will immediately ring a bell in your reader’s brain. Maybe it’s a word that wouldn’t have occurred to them since they’re not sharing your brainpain… or maybe it’s exactly what they would have said, so they begin to identify with you, to feel like you can represent their readerly interests.
There are a handful of writers who do that for me – I read their essays, novels, articles or reviews and think “Just so – exactly”