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Writer’s Craft #76 What do Writers Have in Common?

June 10, 2012
Lynda Williams

Lynda Williams, Author of Okal Rel Saga

Your host, Lynda Williams, is the author of the Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). She also works as Learning Technology Analyst for Simon Fraser University and teaches a introductory web development course at BCIT. For a list of Okal Rel titles see: Lynda Williams on Amazon.com.


Last Friday I enjoyed a social hour with a friend, Donalda Meyers, and her husband Nick Faragher, the author of a collection of short stories (The Well). My writerly daughter, Jennifer Lott, joined us and at some point the conversation turned to what writers have in common. We quickly determined it wasn’t our approaches to plotting or outlining. Nick Faragher’s stories are mainstream (we debated the definition and applicability of ‘literary’). Jenny and I write SF. She leans in the direction of children. My readers are teenage and up. On the whole, there wasn’t a lot we shared. But there was. It was tangible. And it wasn’t just comparing notes about the editing process although I admit that’s a factor.

So what is it? My guess was the need to observe and interpret. Maybe to bend the world a little through the lens of our narrative. A dissatisfaction with life’s failure to explain itself adequately. Or maybe the obsession to frame questions as we see them. And, then, to communicate what we discover. To test it out on the world with some mixture of ego and courage. At least that’s how I remember the discussion. (For a less grandiose look at the situation, however, check out my other daughter’s youtube puppet show Living With Writers, in which myself and Jennifer are two of the three writers lampooned.)

What do you think writers have in common regardless of intended audience or genre? (Apart from annoying their families.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. tylertork permalink
    June 12, 2012 5:10 am

    It’s possible that you are unconsciously warping the discussion to make a better narrative.🙂

  2. June 13, 2012 7:50 am

    That would be very writerly of me. Other interpretations?

  3. JohnP permalink
    June 14, 2012 7:00 pm

    Very interesting topic.
    The short form is, probably not much. I certainly have not met many more disparate people in one demographic cohort.

    So, where is the crossover? At heart, there is a story to tell, the differences lie in why we feel we have to tell it.

    Maybe

  4. June 15, 2012 6:40 pm

    I would think that all or most writers have some versions of these qualities: creativity; inspiration; imagination; a certain faith in themselves – enough to keep writing; a desire to communicate and to express themselves, and, let’s hope, a certain talent with or, at least, affection for words.

  5. June 26, 2012 6:09 pm

    I suspect writers are more likely to:
    – have more books
    – have more books about words (mine: an old and a new dictionary, two thesauruses, a reverse dictionary, a describer’s dictionary, a dictionary of difficult words, an architecture dictionary, a dictionary of first names, a medical dictionary)
    – have more diverse and strange books (or digital equivalent)
    – have more pens and notebooks (to the point they have to hide their habit)
    – be able to hold prolonged conversations about the merits of various makes of pen, notebooks, and writing software
    – when given the number 2500 think ‘words’ rather than ‘dollars’

  6. Ryan permalink
    February 5, 2013 1:51 pm

    I think maybe it’s loneliness.

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