Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Is A Writer?

In TEN words or less, What is a writer?

That was the challenge placed before me.  I consider myself a writer and thought it an interesting question.  Of course, this wasn't some rhetorical question, my friend was waiting for a reply and I didn't have hours, days, or weeks to ponder over it.  I was expected to spout some words of wisdom -- after all, I am a writer.

After a few moments of silence on behalf, my friend offered: A person who puts words together.

Hmm?  Not really all that glamorous when put that way.

But really, what is a writer?  S/He is nothing more than an individual who puts words together into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into a story.  And so we don't get into issue of semantics -- a news article is a story, a medical essay is a story, a memoir is a story, a fantasy, mystery, romance tale is a story.  Yes, even an obit is a story.  But I digress (as usual) -- so moving on.

Anyone can put words together.  Does that mean anyone can be a writer?  Today, more so than any other time in history, everyone can be a writer.  All you need to do is put the words down.


Anyone can put words together.  But, as a writer learns, there is a method to the madness of aligning those words.  Word choice becomes important.  Which is better?

A)  The campfire's smoke burned our eyes.
B)  The curling tendrils of smoke from the campfire irritated our eyes.

Yes, B is very flowery but as a writer, that is the difference between 'just putting words together' and 'writing' for an audience.

There are writers who have sold 6 books and there are writers who have sold 6 million books.  What is the difference?  Each have put the words together into sentences... and sentences into paragraphs.

The difference is the way the words were put together.  A writer, like a painter, chooses the proper word.  An artist doesn't just slap a dab of blue into a daisy; the artist blends in the blue shadowing so you, the viewer, can see the depth and subtlety of the petal.

Hence, a good writer plays with the words so you, the reader, feel the moment. Each word is placed where it will be at its optimal best.

What is a writer?  A person who puts words together in the proper sequence.

Anyone else want to try a response?  I'm open to a great answer.

By the way, my latest short story ebook (all formats) is available for FREE at Smashwords.  Click on the title at the right -- Barry Hargrove and the Case of the Lunar Orchids.

Until next I ramble on...

1 comment:

  1. We are not builders of the world, but its explainers!

    Happy to meet you, Bob! I was hard put to come up with only ten words, so I stole a line from one of my essays on writing. You have a great blogsite here!