I have a theory about creative craft; no matter how talented you are, you will always need to learn from “experts” in order to be considered a professional by other professionals in that field. Practice allows for amateurs to shed their titles but doesn’t fully substitute learning from a more experienced person.
You see it reflected in the jargon that trained people use when they’re working with each other. As an outsider, you can quickly become lost in conversation because of the technical terms they use to speak; a kind of specialized shorthand for the things we all know and would describe in great detail.
I’ve been on a journey of learning the craft of writing by listening to lessons, reading articles about English, and sentence structure, pyramids of ambiguity, and sympathetic characters.
Any place that has this very technical information, has now become my refuge and a chance to talk to other writers and build up my confidence in my writing.
Recently, I stumbled across some lectures given by Brandon Sanderson (whose books I have not read YET). He is a Professor at BYU (Brigham Young University) where he teaches English 318. The classes shown online are from 2013, but that is a-ok because the rules of storytelling haven’t really changed that much.
I’m trying to be sensible about this, rather than treating it like Netflix and binge watching all the lessons at once I’m trying to allow myself to imbibe what I’ve learned and put it into practice. Which is a bit of a struggle because I use learning as an excuse to avoid writing. *sigh
Today I learned about the pyramid of abstraction (a podcast to listen to about this very thing), and how to use weighty descriptions of the MC’s POV in order to evoke tone, character and concreteness.
What technical things have you been learning about writing?