January 7, 2022 Writing Diary

Friday, January 07, 2022

Writing has been difficult this week. Although I did what I thought was adequate reading before starting this book, I find myself stopping after every other sentence to research something. Some of this is the result of taking a writing course on Depth.

Depth in writing is making the reader experience what the characters would. It includes not only all five senses, but also their opinions about the setting or an object or another character. It’s also the emotions a fragrance might arouse due to a memory it evokes.

Depth is important because, as Dean Wesley Smith says in the course, it engages the reader. It grabs them and doesn’t let go. They keep reading because of depth.

And so I’m all too aware of when I’m writing “fake details,” as Smith refers to them. A room that is devoid of furniture or wall covering or carpet or tile. A conversation that takes place there is words in a white box. I’m slowing down to think about what my character would see, hear, smell, taste, and feel as they have this conversation in this particular place.

This is very different from my NaNo novel, and one of the reasons I retook the course. In the novel I wrote last November, many scenes are purely conversation, like a play script. I know that during the revision, I’ll have to add in all that depth to make the novel enjoyable. And, after going through that one too many times, I decided to do it at the front rather than the back. I don’t like it when revision takes twice as long as writing the first draft.

I’ve had my decision reinforced by reading a novel I picked up from the library this week, titled Once Upon a Wardrobe, by Patti Callahan. As I’m reading it, I’m noticing all the depth in this book, all the things Dean points out in the Writing with Depth class. And I’m having a hard time putting it down to do something else. It’s kind of ironic. I was wondering how I was going to read this book (and another one that came in at the same time) in the three short weeks before it has to be returned. I’m in the middle of at least two other books that I’d like to finish. But now that I’ve started Once Upon a Wardrobe, the question is will I finish it over the weekend? Because it’s just that good.

And so I have to believe that taking the time to write my book with depth to begin with is the right way to go. At least for now. I’m hoping that like most of my books, once I’m further into it, I won’t need to stop so often to look things up because I’ll be totally immersed in the story, the characters, and their world. I just have to keep plugging away to get to that point.

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A Clash of Kings
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