We asked “What is writing well for you?” To 11 professional writers, with books published and even with awards in literature contests. In this post (which accompanies the video), each one shared some of their knowledge about the art of writing well.
This is the first post of 3. Each will follow a video with the writers answering a question. Come on? Watch the first video right there, below. If you wish, you can also read the transcription of all the lines. These lines should be saved!
For me, writing well is to get the reader to get involved in some way with what we have written, whether it be fictional or nonfiction writing; that he does not think that it was written by somebody, but that he lives it. But this is a bit subjective, because it has readers who will be influenced and will get involved with what I wrote; others do not.
For me, writing well is always a big controversy. In my understanding, writing well is for you to make the reader feel what you have written and move into your story. But writing well goes beyond telling a good story; you have to master the writing tools. I always say that the main tool of the writer is not the computer, it is not a notebook, but it is the language. Writing well means you also have a good command of the language and know how to write correctly.
As the great philosopher Plato put it, “he who conceives well writes well.” In that perspective, I believe writing well is you telling the truth in a beautiful way. If one considers the example of the greatest writer of all time, Shakespeare was just one who had something very important to say about the human soul, the motives of man, and who knew how to say it in a most beautiful way. That is to write well.
Writing well, for me, is when I read a text and I can understand the author’s message. Since I am a very practical person, very direct and very objective, I also like this type of text to read. Of course, each reader has their preference. Some like more fancy text. This all only proves that Literature is a very subjective thing. Still good!
Writing well, for me, is actually rewriting one, two, ten, twenty times. Writing well necessarily goes through a lot of work.
There is a poem by Manoel de Barros about “unimportant things” [see below a passage of the poem]. In this poem he speaks, for example, that he values the flight of the insects more than the flight of the airplanes. And I really like airplanes. But I think it’s easy for us to see the magnitude of an airplane. And good literature, for me, it is literature that can point you to just that; is to show you “have you ever thought about flying an insect?”. So for me, this is good literature; it is the literature that finds the specific, which goes a bit out of the obvious.
- “I give respect to the unimportant things
- and to the unimportant beings.
- I appreciate bugs than planes.
- Speed pricing
- of the turtles rather than the missiles.
- I have this delay of birth in me.
- I was rigged
- to like birds.
- I have plenty to be happy about it.
- My backyard is greater than the world.”
Writing well is captivating the reader – whatever the target reader. I do not think there is a way to write well; I do not think writing well is just grammatical correctness. I think writing well is catching attention; and having attention to capture the things that matter in the scenes that we want to communicate to the reader I think is fundamental. And I feel seduced by a “text that makes me forget that it is text,” when the words are so tightly tied, so well chosen that they disappear and I see the scene, the fact, the object, the emotion, or the thought. This is for me to write well.
To write well, for me, is to be more than merely technical. The technique needs to be known, but the author needs to put his guts, his soul; you need to put your emotion in that text – and not be arguing arguments, not be defending ideas that he, in fact, does not believe. So writing well is, first of all, to be honest with the reader.
For me, it means everything. It’s my profession, it’s what I like to do, it’s the way I have to express my feelings, my world view, my hopes for a better future; I write a lot of science fiction and I talk a lot about the future, for me, that’s a way to leave a message of hope for building a better world.
One of the most important maestros of the twentieth century was Herbert Von Karajan. Karajan picked up a simple piece, such as “The Blue Danube,” and ruled it as if it were a Mahler Symphony. I think this is writing well. It is you do not underestimate anything and treat each line of text as if it were the most important of the book.
For me, writing well is you write with awareness that the path you are following will achieve the effect you want. When you create a text, this text will have an effect on who reads, whether creating sensations or passing information; and if you know what to do to create this effect, ie “I’ll use the word ‘x’ here and build this in such a way to create this effect that I want,” if you have a clue of what you are doing to create the effect you want then you know how to write well. In my vision that is it.
These were the answers to our first question. And you, what do you think about “What is writing well”? Express your opinion in the comments!
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