It was not the first time that they had seen trees, a blue sky, meadows; that they had heard the water flowing and the wind blowing in the leaves; but, no doubt, they had never admired all this, as if Nature had not existed before, or had only begun to be beautiful since the gratification of their desires.For those of you reading along, you have probably figured out I am reading self-help books, and the books they recommend such as the above quote from Madame Bovary, to get my writing legs back under me and my reviews back in the saddle. It is my rehabilitation, and I share in part to show others you can come back, you can return to something which you felt like you abandoned, and you can learn and improve. this is just my story, yet one worth sharing because this convalescence is instructive as it is enlightening. As well as entertaining, at times.
I find my writing style has improved significantly, both as a result from the time away as well as the sudden rush back in and the materials I have chose to read. I used to write almost exclusively in the first-person, but I have been forcing myself to write in the third, and I have discovered a great many things about that style that has taught me so much about point-of-view and how to effectively use it to subtly wield that tool to great effect.
What is not said is just as important as what is.
How something is said maters a great deal.
More importantly, the texture and shape of the strokes of words we use also matter a great deal. This is the art part of writing, how we craft a sentence, the choice of words, the tenor and lyrical style, and the general beauty and appreciation of words, how we reveal them, and how they enlighten not only us but our readers as well.
Also, perspective needs to be taken into account, like in art, you can paint a picture from a perspective up high or down very low, and you show and see different things. It is the difference between painting a castle on the mountain or a rock surrounded by blades of grass.
The colors of words and style we use matter. We could paint that castle on a hill with bold and happy colors, or we could paint it with an ocher and dour palette. Our strokes can be straight and bold, or they can twist in sinister ways.
How we control the brush is through perspective. How we color the words of the narrator, and how the narrator's viewpoint can change for a moment to something important but not central, meaningful yet separated, biased in perception yet neutral in presentation.
It is not enough to tell someone how things are, but the the manner of how things are told matter a great deal. Writing is not just, "this happened, and then that." There is a secret layer there, one that must never be obvious, but a current always lying underneath. It is not enough to say, "she lied to me."
If these are damned lies, that is one thing.
If those are blissful lies it is another.
Ignorant lies. Twisted lies of hateful deception. Lies of kindness, told carefully to not break the eggshell nature of the moment. Sorrowful lies. Spiteful lies. Lies of convenience told in haste and with careless disregard. Purposeful lies. Lies told in the moment without a care for the sanguine regret of tomorrow.
There are many types of lies there. Many beautiful colors I chose from the palette in which I hold, and the brush I use to color the words.
And back on track, I am preparing to return to reviewing soon. I needed this practice, since there is a lot of skill that goes up into summary - more than you would expect. The skill of being concise saves me a lot of work, where one could go on and on in a 5,000 word these of a review, it is possible to pick the exactly correct color and twist the brush with such skill that the meaning comes across of how I feel in one beautiful, masterful stroke.
This is what I practice by my ranting here, the art of the review. It is instructive because many of the same skills in which I use to review also have use when I write, after all, I am going from describing how I feel about a book to how a character feels about a situation, so the path is the same but the content is different.
This is the art of expression.
Of turning a word into a feeling.
Of surviving the journey from inside my head, through a language and grammar which doesn't always capture the moment, to words on a page, and then back out again through reading and comprehension. Writing is like traveling, a lot goes into a car or a plane that we don't see, yet the art of travel is the same as the art of writing.
It needs to feel effortless.
A needs to get to B.
The feeling needs to get inside someone else's head, and stay there a moment.
To show the shapes and let that person feel the strokes on the canvas.
In beautiful colors all.