Sunday, March 7, 2010

Conquer All Obstacles

Jo-Anne Vandermuelen has a novel out entitled "Conquer All Obstacles" and that title alone says it all. Although her story is of love and passion, the title is valid on many levels which includes writing.

As a writer you are faced with many different types of ruts on your road to being published. It really doesn't matter if your style is non-ficitonal article writing or fictional novels, those little road bumps hold true to all genres.

There are seven (7) obstacles to overcome in your writing project. They are:
1) Concept.
2) Capture.
3) Character
4) Conflict
5) Climax
6) Conclusion
7) Collection

Let's examine these.

CONCEPT. We all know what that means. A thought; an idea. It is the spark of your imagination to begin the article or story. Yes, imagination does play a part in a non-fictional work. Perhaps you've read an article about something in your particular field of work and it ignites your mind to realize you could write an article expanding on this or that. Or, if you want to go the other way, perhaps an illusionary trip with a short story. I read a comment about a clown and a baby at a circus -- it burst forth in my imagination and will soon be going out in search of publication.

CAPTURE. You need to ensnare both your publisher and your audience. I'm sure when you read clown and circus above, you were ho-hum, but when I added the baby aspect... your mind questioned exactly what I could be doing. That is the capture aspect. Also, the title can be part of the capture. Would you be reading this blarticle (blog-article) if the title had been Seven Points of Writing?

CHARACTER. Short stories, novellas and novels thrive on characters. If the created hero is your stock standard, more than likely your reader will be dozing off. Big, buff heros need reality and it means a weakness, a fraility. Give them one. In non-fiction writing, your character is going to be less than stellar. You will be writing about a real person more than likely. Then again, maybe your lead characters is a bacterium in an article. Whatever light you cast your hero (lead) into, they must shine.

CONFLICT. As Bill Alexander explained many times on his PBS oil painting shows -- to have darkness, you must have light; to have light, you must have darkness. This holds true in writing. You must have conflict to have happiness. This conflict can be as simple as your hero overcoming an inhibition such as a fear of snakes. Your hero must grow. I can hear you scream this is not true in non-fiction article writing. Wrong. Even if you were writing about a new form bacterium, there would be some detail to show conflict. Perhaps a difficulty in growing it, containing it, using it; all of them are forms of conflict.

CLIMAX. A short story or novel always has a big thunderous scene where everything comes together. The bad guy is caught; the lovers realize their true emotions; the battle is won. Even non-fiction has this moment. Using the bacterium again, the moment of discovery or the realization of the uses of the bacterium; those are climactic aspects.

CONCLUSION. This is where you, the writer, bring it all together. Your hero lounges in the sun; the couple rest blissfully on the beach or the biologists explain how the bacterium will aid mankind.

COLLECTION. Sending it out to publishers, printers, agents, whoever to get your work seen and to receive the money due you for your long, anguishing hours of torment to complete the piece.

Ah-ha! The BIG obstacle for you to overcome. You, as a writer, a typer of words, have fearlessly fought the battle through the first six speed bumps or ruts to complete your work. Now you need to send it out, to finally receive what is rightfully due you. Hence, the title. Conquer All Obstacles. This is one aspect where many writers tend to back down, to hedge into the shadows to disappear. It is a fear of rejection. It is only through rejection you learn to grow, to aspire, to become a writer. If you never submit, you will never have the chance at publication. If you never get published, then really, are you a writer? No, you're a person who typed a lot of words aka a word typer. Also, as a typer of words, a writer, it is your involvement, your desire to be printed which pushes you to send out the manuscript over and over and over. Rejection is the hardest obstacle to overcome, but to be a writer, you must overcome rejection to earn the seventh step: to see your work in print and collect.

There truly is a difference between 'a typer of words' and 'a word typer' -- which one are you?

Remove the obstacle, overcome your fears, become your hero: submit.

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