If you ask me, weather forecasters and politicians are in the same class. I’m sure both careers are challenging, but you don’t know who to trust. I surrender.
Take the weather, for instance. With all of the hype about a new winter storm brewing, I have no idea how to prepare. Today’s forecast was cold and partly cloudy. When I heard the salt truck on my street, I checked the weather app on my phone. No precipitation for today. Tomorrow? Nope. Hmmm.
Regardless, a visit to the grocery store was on my to-do list. Every parking spot was filled. I knew something was up, so I got bread and milk–just in case. By the time I unloaded the car and checked the weather app again, an inch of snow was predicted for tonight. Really? An inch?
Here’s my theory. The head weather forecaster sits in front of his or her computer with a cup of coffee. He or she then looks out the window and sees clouds. Types “cloudy.” Getting up to stretch, notices the salt truck. Types “50% chance of precipitation.” Then sees a snowflake. Types “100% chance of snow.” When the snow begins in earnest, types “1-3 inches.”
How relevant is all of that to my writing reflections? I’m glad you asked.
As a new author, I voraciously read advice about crafting stories. “Don’t write too much dialog,” some said. Others argued that it’s dialog that keeps a reader involved and brings characters to life.
OK, use dialog to move the story along, but simply say “he said,” “she said.” Don’t get all chummy with stupid alternatives like, “he replied,” “she giggled.” And make sure that the characters are speaking as we do in real life. I don’t know about you, but I giggled when I wrote that I bought milk and bread today. That’s as real life as it gets.
So, here’s another theory. Craft a story that moves you. One where you can imagine being immersed in the scene. Make it believable. But make it your own style. Be true to yourself.
“That’s what makes a great author,” she noted.