Today please welcome Kathi Macias, author of more than 30 books. She’s got some great ideas for your writing.
Eating the Elephant
A common problem among writers is a desire to “eat the entire elephant.” I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and that’s a great way to approach writing. For instance, if you want to write a story about your vacation to the Redwoods, stick to what happened on that trip. Include enough information about the scenery, the weather, and the magnificent trees to bring your story to life, but don’t write an encyclopedia on trees. In the same way, if you’re writing about a spiritual experience, don’t write an apologetic on the entire Bible.
Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But if I were to ask you for a one-line synopsis of your current WIP (work in progress), would you be able to give it to me? If not, then I would have to ask you another question: Do you really know what it’s about?
If we can’t summarize our WIP in one line or sentence, most likely we aren’t clear on the theme or purpose of the piece. How then can we expect our readers to figure it out? It’s not that we don’t want to make them think; all writers have an underlying message that we want readers to chew on for a while. But we also want them to be clear on what that message is.
Every well constructed object, whether a 25-story building or a brief magazine article, must begin with a firm foundation. If we lay that foundation in the beginning and then effectively and systematically build on it, we’ll eventually come full-circle, ending up where we started, upon the firm foundation that supports the entire manuscript, and leaving our readers with a clear and satisfying takeaway thought.
But it all begins with learning how properly to eat an elephant—one bite at a time.
About Kathi: Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and was named 2008 Member of the Year by AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding in Al’s new sunburst orange Corvette. You can reach Kathi or find out more about her writing and speaking at www.kathimacias.com. You can also visit her “Easy Writer” blog at http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com/
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