Sometimes Just Writing Isn’t Enough

As I work at writing, I try to remain conscious of the fact that simply putting down the words isn’t enough. I need to figure out ways to keep the reader reading, turning the pages, getting invested in my main character and his life.

Today, I came across a webpage illustrating how and why people either continue reading or decide to abandon a book. The top reason for abandoning a read is “slow, boring.” The top reason for continuing, after “As a rule, I like to finish things,”  is, “I have to know what happens.”

Even before seeing this graphic, I’ve been conscious of writing in such a way that my readers will want to keep turning the pages. As the book grows, the chore becomes more difficult, since I have to juggle all the different parts while maintaining the whole.

You can see the full graphic here.


How I Read

This post is, actually, a good follow-up for the previous one on How I Write. I firmly believe good writing comes from avid reading.

I read almost everything: classics, literature, nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, etc. (Though I have to admit I have not, nor ever will, read the Shades of Grey series.

Currently, as you’ve seen in other posts, I’m immersed in books about Deaf culture and coda (children of deaf adults) lives.

I recently came across an interesting webpage asking the question “What Kind of Book Reader Are You?” I find I’m somewhere in between the Chronological Reader and the Book-Buster. It all depends what mode I’m in at the time.

Usually I read one book at a time, usually finishing it no matter how much I dislike it. However, once in a while I go into a more voracious state, where I read three of four books at the same time. That’s where I am right now. Once I’m done with all my research reading, I’ll probably pick up a single book and revel in the simplicity of a single story.

So, what kind of book reader are you?

How I Write

It’s always interesting to hear how different people choose to compose.

What’s been working for me is a daily schedule of writing at least 600 words every morning while I have my coffee. It seems to me the words flow more smoothly at that time, so I take advantage of the situation. Of course, because the writing comes from a half awake brain…… Well, you get the idea!

My break in writing is when I get to my day’s activities. I’m a potter, so I usually spend some time in the studio creating things out of clay rather than words. I come home, have some lunch and, sometimes, watch a little tv. Judge Judy happens to be my favorite mind-numbing afternoon waste of time.

After that, I get back to my computer. I open up something I’ve already written. Often, it’s a scene or two from a few days prior. Then I begin to edit.

Editing for me involves removal and replacement. All the extraneous words come out: apparently, however, but, etc. Then, all the words I’ve written with that half brain are reconsidered. I believe language should be like a razor’s edge, smooth and precise. The subtlest change in a word or a phrase can make all the difference.

My editing is an ongoing process. I’ll go over the same words day after day, until I think I’ve gotten it just right.

Reading coda Memoirs

I’ve found quite a few books, both nonfiction and fiction, about children of deaf adults. A common thread is the universal use of the word “love” on either the front or back cover.

Tensile Strength goes against that norm. It’s the story of a coda born into a chaotic world of dysfunction and the ripple effect on the rest of his life.

Codas are often credited with protecting their deaf parents. I wonder, were the codas in Hands of My Father and In Silence lucky, or did they choose to take on the protective role assigned to them by accident of birth?

Researching for Writing

I’ve always loved learning. It stimulates my brain and fills it with new information. At coffee klatches I spout dismembered trivia. Researching for a book, though, is an entirely different animal.

Rather than gathering a few individual flowers for a small arrangement, I have to competently find a way to design an entire landscape, making sure everything works harmoniously and I leave no fallow areas.

Even though my work-in-progress, Tensile Strength, deals with much more than Deaf, Hearing, and a coda (child of Deaf adults) who falls between the cracks of those two cultures, I continue to read about the coda experience.

If you’re interested in this topic, allow me to highly recommend Paul Preston’s book Mother Father Deaf: Living between Sound and Silence. Not only has it informed me, it has given me many moments of inspiration, which have given life to my story.

CODA Brains: More Deaf or More Hearing?

CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). Even though they are born hearing, a 1990 study showed their brain function is closer to that of a deaf person than a hearing one.

“When does a ch…

“When does a child raised by wolves realize not all children are raised by wolves?”

So begins the upcoming book by April Grunspan.

Meet Royal Henry King, child of deaf adults. How does someone so far outside society’s norms battle his way to acceptance. It becomes even more difficult when it seems life works against him at every turn?