Sunday, February 18, 2007

No, It's Not a Coaster Near My Keyboard, But It Could Be

Out of the thirty plus books I have on the craft of writing, one stands out among the others. Between texts about everyday life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and rah, rah books by Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron on how life wouldn't be worth living without the written word, one modest yellow-jacketed book is never relagated back to the shelf. The spine is frayed. Its top left cover is torn to a spot with an unidentifiable cloud of funk across the title. Reminants of a price tag or food, not sure which. The book? A most unlikely text to be chosen as one of my constant companions in writing.

The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray.

I've never heard it referenced in any craft articles. Workshop presenters never spouted it's genius like they have the GMC bible or others we all believed we needed to purchase to gain an instant ticket to ride the trail to publishing success. I picked this one up six years ago, when I thought harnessing time was the answer. More time, more writing. Not necessarily always the case, but that's a topic for another day...

Robert Ray, a college professor of literature and writing, created a dynamic 52 week program to help the writer to produce a finished novel one weekend at a time. Although my left brain craved the structure and promise of such a simple idea, that's not the reason it ultimately stays with me. His capacity for depth, scene building and the ultimate, seemingly random way he attacks creating a story from start to finish, leads you to realize, when you come to the end--made perfect sense all along. Always encouraging the writer to look behind and think ahead in moments writing isn't possible, he is like a personal instructor sitting beside you, his tone firm and knowing. Completely understanding.

Mood::Silently overwhelmed

Music:: Everybody by Keith Urban


Shannon Canard said...

I might have to check this one out. One that I like because it's very nuts & bolts, is "Techniques of the Selling Writer," by Dwight Swain. It's old, from '65, I think. But it makes a lot of sense to me.

Sandra Ferguson said...

I agree on the 'Techniques of the Selling Writer.' Great read.

I'm working my way through 'Eats, Shoots, and Leaves', the charmingly British take on real grammar.

It's a fun read (unbelievably educational, as well). Great for my sitting mode when I'm picking up, dropping off, or just cooling my heels for my kids.