I’m a man and I own tools. Since I’ve never been overly interested in carpentry or mechanical repair, my tools are limited. I only notice that I don’t have a certain tool when I need it. Like, I don’t own a good pipe wrench. I don’t own a nail gun. So, if I need to work on my plumbing or build something larger than a small box, I either have to buy a new tool, borrow it, or do the job using the minimal tools I own, which may take a lot longer to complete and probably won’t turn out as well.
Similarly, I do enjoy writing, and I do spend a lot of time doing it. That’s why I accumulate new tools every chance I get. For example, if I know how to draw an in-depth character using only a few sentences (using tools I’ve learned over the years), I can get the job done quickly. For someone without those tools (my earlier novels will attest to this), I could spend pages on getting the same information and emotions across.
Like my mechanical tools, I sometimes buy new ones (buy and study a new book or take a class at a conference), and I sometimes borrow the tools (often from what I’ve noticed another writer do), and sometimes I take the long road, which doesn’t always turn out so well.
I’ve read and studied literally hundreds of books on writing and have my favorites that I go back to time and again. And I’m always buying other books on how to write. I learn from every one of them. Here are a few I return to regularly: Orson Scott Card: Character and Viewpoint and his book on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy; Lawrence Block: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit is a good read as well as being informative; Rebecca McClanahan: Word Painting; and Elizabeth Lyon: Manuscript Makeover.
If you’re a writer, putting more tools in your toolbox is important, so is looking at and studying the craftsmanship of other works. I borrow from and study anything with a storyline, from television and movies, to plays, operas, and commercials. Being aware of how stories are told (comedians do a great job at short stories and flash fiction) means I can pick up a few tools here and there that will only make my writing better. And, if you ever read any of my novels, stories, or poems, feel free to borrow from me if you like. We’re all friends here.
Terry Persun is an award winning author and a #1 Amazon bestseller. He is also a Pushcart nominee. His mainstream novel, “Wolf’s Rite”, was a Star of Washington award winner, a POW! Award winner, and a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. His science fiction novel, “Cathedral of Dreams”, was also a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists. And his historical novel, “Sweet Song”, won a Silver IPPY Award for best regional fiction. His latest novel, “Doublesight”, is book one of his new fantasy series. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. Terry writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy.