This week's thesis journey was straight research.
Alan's comment on last week's blog got me to thinking.
Alan's mention of Kurt Vonnegut reminded me of this book that I've had sitting on my shelf for the longest. Now, I never actually read it. It was recommended by Dr. Mary Ann Riley at a professional development workshop. (I love her by the way. Any PD she's teaching I want to be there front and center!) At this workshop she was teaching teachers how to teach students to be better readers and writers and at some point she mentioned this book. And I immediately went on Amazon and ordered it.
Anyway, I cracked open this book, started flipping around until I found a section that I felt was a great starting point for the things I needed to focus on in my writing. I landed on Chapter Eight titled Details. During our Google Hangout chat with Barbara, we talked about writing techniques and tips. In order to be a good writer, one who has honed and perfected their craft you have to study great writing. So, before I select and read my mentor texts with the lens of learning the craft. I decided to see what Francine Prose had to say about good writing.
I was one page into the chapter when cracked open my highlight. Prose says a friend told her, "...God is really in the details." This stopped me in my tracks. I started thinking about photos. What makes a good photo. It is the details the parts of the image that the camera has captured and allows us to stare upon it with adoration. And some of the best images, with the best lighting isn't usually created by man. It is the natural light, created by God that hits just right creating the perfect...detail.
Thinking about a photo made me reconsider how I read books. What details and images do I remember? Prose goes on to say, "Details are what persuade us that someone is telling the truth-- a fact that every liar knows instinctively and too well." (196)
One of my favorite quotes about reading was said by Mason Cooley, "Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are." I truly believe that this is done through the details and the images that the author so skillfully creates in our minds. When I go back and revise my manuscript I have to remember and look for moments when I do this. The lack of considering the importance of these details could have a huge impact on my story as a whole.
Prose asserts, "Details aren't only the building blocks with which a story is put together, they're also clues to something deeper, keys not merely to our subconscious but to our historical moment." (207)
Considering the big picture of what I plan to achieve or accomplish with my manuscript that notion is everything to me. I have consider my audience for my novel and what I want Misunderstood to impart on them what message am I sending them, what Easter eggs am I leaving behind in my details.
This chapter opened my eyes to what I need to do as a writer. It was very educational to put on that hat and look at literary moves as a author and not just as an analytical reader of literature. I am going to look for more texts to read on the craft of writing. I think it is important to start my research journey here because this will make it easier when I move into writing the my research piece where I take a deeper dive into my questions.
Why do humans need stories?
How does my work fit amount the books that inspire me? Should it?
I was begin to consider one of my questions, why fiction. This video on the Future of Storytelling was very insightful and it provided some science data as to how storytelling affects our brain.
So yes, God is in the details and my job as a writer, is to figure out how to make each detail count.