Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On Writing: ya' think?

She was brilliant and she knew it, drinking trendy coffee and discussing authors with foreign names. She finally focused on me and gave me the oddest compliment I’ve ever received: “You look like some one who….thinks.”

I think it was a compliment.

But whether or not I look like someone who thinks, you need to think if you want to write. If you long to paint pictures with sentences, you have to first have an idea to convey and a purpose to your writing.

I know that you want to smother your text with colorful adjectives and skillful word choices but first you have to have a point to all this. I have read paragraphs of lush description, applying layers of color and texture to a scene. I could smell the roses and taste the hint of lemon in the air, but I had no idea why I was there.

Description fleshes out the purpose of the writing but description can’t be the purpose.

You as the writer need to be clear on your point. Some call it the “take away” or the theme of the article or book. Call it what you what, but know what it is.

Can you, in one sentence, describe what you want your reader to gain from your writing? If you can’t, you need to do some thinking before you do some typing.

Look at Luke, who in the first paragraph of his gospel disclosed his point: “It seemed good also to me to write an orderly account …so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”[1]

And John framed his entire gospel around his “take away”: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”[2]

Last week we talked about knowing the reason you write. Today, I’m asking you to know the reason you are writing each piece.

Next Tuesday: The Michelangelo approach

[1] Luke 1:3-4

[2] John 20:31


Maxine said...

Now that is challenging. I never thought about it quite that way. I keep putting everything on hold, so maybe I need to reevaluate each of my projects. I'm going to think more about this. Thanks for these helpful hints. Sorry my blogging has slowed down but hope it can pick up again soon. Take care

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

That is very good. I can easily come to a concise point but expanding on it is sometimes a problem for me. God is teaching me and stretching me.

Much love,