October 24, 2012

On Writing

  An early review of LIGHT OF THE MOON was posted today by the wonderful and hilarious Literati Literature Lovers review team and, while I'm not going to post the full review due to spoilers, I want to talk about a few things the reviewer pointed out in terms of my writing style. I've been wanting to post something about this for a while, mainly because as a reader I enjoy learning about how an author writes, and how their style differs from every other author.

"What I found refreshing was the poems within the story itself. Words crossed out within the context of the poems and the sentences within the story were something I’ve not seen too much of in a book. So it was different. Not odd different, but more of a “Oh that’s kind of cool” different. Throughout the story, as Calum fights his internal battle to be something more than what he is, he crosses out words to underscore certain phrases to emphasize the characters’ feelings. I found it quite heartbreaking at times to see Calum wrestle with his past... From Calum’s scribblings:
I am 
nothing without truth
 someone more than this.
I am someone. 
Am I even alive

Who am I?

So in summary, I found the book to be engaging, and I believe that young readers, ages 13 and up, will be thrilled with the world this author has fabricated. I’ll certainly be looking forward to more of this author’s works." - Rozette of the Literati Literature Lovers

  I enjoy writing that focuses on what isn't rather than what is. Writing that decides to tell what might have been instead of what should be. As a reader I like when I read something that is just different from everything else - has a different feel or tone or atmosphere than the last book I read. So, in ways, that's what I attempted with LIGHT OF THE MOON. The review above is just a small example of the ways I used the strikethrough technique to show Calum's inner struggles (similar to Tahereh Mafi's SHATTER ME). And while I only used that technique a few times throughout the novel, the words that weren't helped Calum's inner battle between good and evil, and past and future.
 This technique reflects the way I write. Often, I write without anything in mind, and eventually find myself in a story that wasn't there before. With Calum (and with new stories), I continue to write in a stream of consciousness narrative form. Most days I write without the use of proper grammar, punctuation, or any kind of traditional flow, and I wait to include those elements when I edit. I like this because it helps me understand what the character might be thinking beneath the true storyline, and if I can understand what a character feels at their core - what breaks them and bends them and makes them breathe - then they have an even greater chance of feeling alive to the reader.
  Also, poetry. Or rather, more appropriately, verse.
 Writing in verse, I think, is much different than including poetry in your writing. In ways I've done both, but I focus on verse more. Verse (a style similar to Ellen Hopkins' CRANK or BURNED) has a lot of similarities with the stream of consciousness style of writing, where instead of focusing on a traditional narrative, words just seem to flow and drift where they want. Personally, I like the way verse provides the reader with simple words and simple phrases, but leaves them completely shattered in emotion. Raw. That, I think, is the one thing I enjoy about this style of writing more than anything else - the very raw emotion that is found when words are stripped away until the reader is left with only feelings.
  More on writing later. Getting excited! =)

out Tuesday


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