Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration - The Writer's Eye

When I first read about the Writer's Eye in On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner I was sure I didn't have one. I also wasn't sure what it meant. "The good writer sees things sharply, vividly, accurately and selectively ( meaning he chooses what's important). I'll end the quote now and start explaining what I thought.

Pictures to me don't really turn me on or send my imagination flowing. I don't cut out pictures of people or places to use in my stories. Every character I use to people my stories come straight from my imagination. The places I write about are often ones I see every day or places I know from my life's experience. Then one day what the Writer's Eye meant suddenly popped into my head. The eye is centered on choosing the right words to show what I meant through gestures or that vivid word that made a person or a place alive to someone else.

I used to use she smiled, he grinned a lot when trying to show what a character was thinking. I still use them but I also have learned to add a bit showing what this gesture did to the other person. That's just an example or the way I found to use the Writer's Eye. His smile sent heat flowing over her skin just the way it had years ago. Now that smile becomes more than just a smile. The aroma of baking cookies sent her back to the days when she'd stood with her grandmother waiting for the chocolate chip cookies to be taken from the oven.

Things like that are part of the Writer's Eye and something I've had to develop over the years. They usually don't come to life in the initial draft but they do when I'm doing the re-writes or revisions. And they take time to find the right picture to draw the reader in. The Writer's Eye sort of turns the writer into the character they're developing.


Sandy said...

It took me awhile to learn how to find the writer's eye, too. It's called other things, but I like the name you gave it, Janet.

Melissa Keir said...

What a powerful post. I'm still working on this. I don't know if you can ever stop learning more about being a better writer.