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WRITING IS FUN AND OTHER WORDS essay
by Richard L. Provencher
6/05/2008 / Writing
My writing combines a love of the outdoors with contemporary issues. After spending much time hiking and camping in my youth, my dad said, "Be careful you don't turn into a tree." Instead I married my wife, Esther 32 years ago and four children and five grandchildren later, we now live in the little town of Truro, in beautiful Nova Scotia.
I'm blessed with a love for words and rather than be called "an emerging writer" at the young age of 65, I am more of a "persevering writer." Thank goodness there is no age limit in the profession of sharing words, and a new pair of eyes to describe situations.
Some of my work is in print and online with journals such as: The Dublin Quarterly, The Windsor Review, Poems Neiderngasse, The New Quarterly, Bogg, Jones Ave, Stellar Showcase Journal, Poetry Sky, Carousel, Scribbulations, Canadian Stories, Quills, Skive, Rubicon Publishing, PusonWeb, Southern Ocean Review, and Tower Poetry.
My first Poetry Chapbook "In the Light of Day" is now available from Mercutio Press at: www.mercutiopress.com. In my mind, writing poetry and stories is a global adventure, a journey without borders. As a member of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, I am listed on their writer's website at: www.writers.ns.ca. I enjoy sharing a view of this world, and look forward to one day having a full book of poetry published, along with my picture books, juvenile novels and an adult one.
All of my writing is because of God's Blessing, as I continue to recuperate from my stroke in August 1999. Creating stories and poems has been wonderful self-therapy.
Hopefully some of my following thoughts are helpful to those wishing to write. They are gleaned from much pondering, reading, testing, persevering and writing, writing, writing, revising, revising and more revising. Whether or not I become a 'name' writer is not importantto write is important.
A writer writes. He/she does not talk about it. No, wait until the words are completely on your pages then gab about your story all you want. I met fine people with wonderful intentions many years ago who hail me with the same line, "Boy, have I got a novel in me, it's about" and UNFORTUNATELY I try to change the subject because the dream may be beyond reach for that fine person.
I do not see the need for ANY swear words. I am not interested in writing about ripped skin, bared knuckles, nor eliminating helpless victims. That is for others who wish to do.
Do not spend too much time getting the right pen, the perfect corner setting, a most comfortable chair, acceptable mood, since time is of the essence to get that story/poem onto paper, NOW! Over the past years of my working life, I was as busy-busy as anyone could be. Writing ten minutes before breakfast, five minutes at noon, an hour after work and two hours on the weekend was my regime.
I learned to compress my thoughts, triggered later by a key work. It could be as simple as "Lion roaring" then when I did get an hour, I wrote quickly as I could move fingers.
Before I learned how to use the computer, my precious wife would type my work, return it to me for correction, then repeat the process, two, three, ten times. Phew. Yes, writing is fun. AND LOTS OF WORK, BUT FUN!! If it isn't FUN, forget it, because you'll begin to place a price tag on your time, and when you realize it may take two hours to write a poem, or ten hours for a short story, you may say to yourself, "Is it worth it? YES, it is.
A writer must be able to usea computer. I suggest Font 12 size, perhaps Arial print, then save work in FTP. Word program is the most used in the world, and by most publishers.
So often we may wish to write a novel. It takes many baby steps to get there. I began with poems, maximum fourteen lines, about eight words to a line. When I saw something that inspired or saddened me (poetry is an emotional expression from the soul) I wrote key words, such as "A falling limbfox watching meeyes squinting.
I tried to get five triggers for a future sit down, since I was always on the go. Write it on a pad. One's memory is like a computer, but it needs a trigger to open up the passion one felt at the time. With practice the scene can be totally recaptured.
To move to a short story, I took my five ideas from a poem that was written and translated it into five complete sentences, using the actual ideas displayed in the poems. Thus the story, a short short, would be approximately 75-100 words long.
Then the short short story could have five more sentences added to the same story, then five more, then five more, keeping each story totally complete in itself. By revising the same story, colour, taste and feelings emerge from many directions, like a painter placing a coat of passion on the scene. Before long you have a 1,000-word story.
I read quite a bit about how other writers wrote a book; Stephen King rattles off 400 pages plus in a steady stream. Remember to be yourself. A Canadian poet, Ray Souster told me one day as we played ball at Humberside Park in Toronto in 1965, "Be yourself. There is only one of you and do not copy anyone else's style."
I must admit I copied Ernest Hemmingway's style of typing. For years, I typed standing up; try it, you may like it. What works for you is right. Pierre Berton said the best advice for me, "Write a scene, or paragraph or chapter that may not be in sequence. Perhaps chapter 12 first, then 2, then 20, and finally try joining them together. It worked for me. And perhaps it may work for you.
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Richard L. Provencher 2007
Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
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