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The Art and the Craft of Writing by Mickey J Corrigan

This week we have author Mickey J. Corrigan talking about The Art and the Craft of Writing. And she has a new release, The Ghostwriters.





The Art and the Craft of Writing
Mickey J. Corrigan

Most writers fall in love with the act of writing. It's an art form, a kind of emotional release, a wonderful freedom, and a seductive practice. You sit at your desk and your thoughts and visions turn into something tangible that can be shared. A story, a memoir, a novel. It's magical, being so creative. You invent worlds, make up scenarios, revise your own history, change how people see you and your life. You insert your memories, your personal philosophy. You exorcise your demons. You are the driver and the map of your journey is infinite, the pathways and destinations yours to choose. There are no rules of the road, except the ones you devise for yourself. While writing, you lose time, forget your problems, and live a separate life, immersed in the creative process.
After the art is done, however, there's more work to do. Once you've created your draft, that's when the craft of writing must come into play. Structure, clarity. Grammar, punctuation. Plot, character development. Will readers be able to visualize what you are telling them, can they understand exactly what you wish to convey? What should you do to ease their entry into your world?
I'm a writer and an editor so my opinion on this matter comes from working both sides of the aisle, as they say in Congress. I want my freedom, but I don't like the chaos of anarchy. I need to be able to understand a writer's words while I am being seduced into believing their story. I love art, but I appreciate how much craft is required before it can be enjoyed by others.
The time it takes to turn a piece of art into a publishable manuscript can be off-putting, even to a seasoned writer. Six months, a year, many years can be spent honing that spark of creation into a readable book. Then there's hunting down an agent, finding a publisher, getting feedback from your editor, marketing. It's enough to ruin all the fun.
Sometimes it does just that.
But the way I look at it is this: writing is fun, editing is hard work. Both are necessary before you have a final result. If you are writing for yourself, you are journaling or exploring. If you are writing for others, editing is required.
I am often asked by potential clients to edit early work. Often they will give me a first draft. They think they cannot fix it and need help. What they need, however, is to take a class on writing. Or to attend a writers conference with workshops that show you how to turn art into commerce. Because that's the next step in the process. Novice writers sometimes get stuck after step one, the creative process. They want to hire out step two, the craft. And jump right to the final step in the process: publishing.

Real writers learn the craft of editing their work. They appreciate what it takes to reshape and remodel a creative endeavor into a polished piece of art. When clients tell me they want to be writers, I encourage them to keep working on their draft. Come back later, when it needs less. After they have spent time on developing their craft.



Mickey J Corrigan on the web:

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The Ghostwriters




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24 comments:

  1. I'm a writer and editor, so I feel the same way and agree on every point. :)

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    1. Thanks for that. Sometimes I feel like Debby Downer, but it's the sorry truth. Writing is hard work.

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  2. I love that cover for The Ghostwriters! I think writers must be prepared to be perpetual learners because there is always more to learn of the craft of writing. No one is a master.

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    1. So true! I will tell the cover designer at The Wild Rose Press that you love her cover design.

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  3. I'm an editor and I've encountered this too. You have to learn craft if you're going to write.

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  4. Such great points! This is probably why I enjoy drafting far more than anything else :)

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    1. LOL. Like the first few weeks of a romance, the beginning is so much fun--then comes all the hard work.

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  5. Yes! I've met a lot of authors who don't understand the difference between learning the craft and editing! BIG difference!

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  6. So true! I write for myself, but I trust my editor to help me get it so the reader sees and feels what I did in the writing.

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    1. Sounds like you have an editor who is in tune with you. That's so important. I hear from writers who get overwhelmed by editors' decisions and heavy-handed input. Editors are like teachers and coaches, so you want them to push you but not take over the work. Good luck with your writing!

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  7. Very true, but I would also not discount the help of an editor. A writer often gets lost in their own vision. They see what they visualized when it was created and have trouble seeing the physical manifestation of their creation. A second pair of eyes, particularly a honed pair, is worth their weight in gold.

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    1. Yes, for sure. Early on in the writing process, you can hire an editor for a "developmental edit" which means reading your work and giving you general feedback on structure, plot, flow and form. Then you can edit your draft yourself to improve it. Or you can attend a writers group and have other writers provide general feedback while you continue to edit your draft. At the end, when the work is polished and, you believe, ready for the world to read, that's when you might choose to hire an editor to copyedit the manuscript. As you say, all those eyes on the page can make a big difference.

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  8. I love the flush of those creative moments, and then it's very nice to bring my critical and more logical brain into the action to clean up that lovely creative mess. Well said.

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    1. It does feel like we use different parts of the brain for writing and editing, doesn't it?

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  9. Truthfully, I usually like the editing stage more than the writing stage. Is that strange? First drafts are my bane and honestly, I don't like them. I don't know how anyone could put their first draft in front of someone else. Just don't.

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    1. LOL. I think Hemingway said something about all first drafts being sh**. I know what you mean. I like creating but when I read over a first draft it usually depresses me. So much work to be done! To reduce this, I try to edit each day what I have written the previous day so when I get to the end of a manuscript I'm sort of on a second draft.

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    2. I do the same thing! *high five* Great minds think alike, eh? (Yes, that means we both have great minds--because I'm not willing to consider any other alternative.)

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  10. Yes, writing the first draft and creating the story is fun. Polishing it is a lot of work!

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  11. You nailed, it, Mickey. I love the editing part because, as far as I'm concerned, the hardest part is done. The first draft can take me years to perfect, and then I'm never satisfied. Thanks for the post.

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  12. It took me many years to figure out the craft. I'm glad I spent that time learning and practicing. Some new writers give up or think that messy first book should be published (and some go ahead and do just that). Steps cannot be skipped.

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  13. Great to hear from Mickey. Marketing definitely adds a lot of work for writers and is different from writing. I enjoyed this post very much. Wishing her the best of luck! :)
    ~Jess

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  14. I'm actually one of those people who enjoys editing as much as writing (sometimes even more). I do wish I had more time to write, though. But alas, all the chores that come with writing have to be done too.

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