Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Write Like the Masters, by William Cane (2)

After reading Write Like the Masters, by William Cane, I selected the writers whom I felt most related to my own way of writing: Honore de Balzac, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, William Somerset Maugham, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Margarate Mitchell, Ian Fleming, and Philip K. Dick. Cane nicely explains each writer's major stylistic elements, his or her specialness. There were many other authors he discusses, so there is a lot that I did not care for for one reason or another, though someday they might appeal to me.

As an aid to seeing the big picture, I created a mind map of my favorite authors' techniques.

I can also summarize in a paragraph, especially without mentioning the particular author the technique came from, what I believe the mind map says:

As writers of fiction, we should strive for strong characters (especially conflicting characters, perhaps based on architypes) who are faced with life-defining, catastrophic events in which strong emotions (positive and negative) are highlighted (tagged) through the conflict, making the reader laugh, cry, and wait for resolution to these conflicts, all of which contain some elements of mystery, surprising the reader, and in which the character changes through an epiphany (ah-ha moment) that is foreshadowed in the fast/slow, rising/falling pace of the action, using sumptuous or strong details of description with a big background (Civil War, WW II, the Great Depression, etc.) and a strong element of romance (with obstacles to that romance) that flows in a pattern of the characters preparing for romance, participating in banter (romantic play) that is followed by the first kiss, preferrably told through the third person limited point of view of the protagonist.

Did I get it all in? Obviously, this is not a blueprint for writing. It is an aid to writing. I doubt that I or anyone else would have all these elements in the same novel, though I'm sure it's possible. But when you're thinking about and writing your story, these are elements that may enter into the story, that may increase your ideas and strengthen your story.
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