Are you dedicated to a year of honing your craft in 2023? Don’t forget that honing your craft can be the step that takes you from being a writer to an author. There are so many tools to develop your craft that they can be overwhelming. Allow yourself room to breathe and view each tool as a reference and not a law as you work through another writer’s writing methods. If you have any other tools you like to use, please comment here or on the previous post. Then, practice, practice, practice. As many now say, practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.
Why is it called a craft?
I’ll admit it, when I first heard writing referred to as a craft in my early semesters of college, I didn’t understand why. To me, craft meant the arts and crafts you did for fun, or basically required the changing of an object to create art. Now I see my answer is even in that explanation, but when you’re trying to break into the writing world with little to no experience, the lingo can make it even more daunting. With a google search, you can find many ways to define craft. But let me break it down into what I think fits best, and addresses what we’ll be focusing on this year.
Writing is a craft because it takes “the artistic skill or technique with which an author puts together narrative and other elements in order to convey meaning and produce effect” (Massachusetts 2017 English Language Arts and Literacy Framework).
In simpler terms, writing is a craft because it requires practice, persistence, and can be taught to those who are willing to learn.
There are some authors out there that believe writing is an innate skill that someone either has or doesn’t. That doesn’t fly here at Myers Fiction. I believe everyone who wants to become an author, and will put in the work, can become an author. Using the definition of offered by the above quote, you’ll notice that they reference skill and technique. When you watch the various social media videos on hand made crafts, one thing becomes apparent quickly. Most of the creators have some sort of skill or technique that makes their videos interesting. It’s soon obvious that they’ve done these or similar projects before. But they didn’t start off at viral video ready. They had to learn the base skills to establish proven techniques to develop their craft. Just as with any artistic venture, you will need to develop certain skills and find your own technique to make the writing your own.
What Are the Aspects of Craft?
Lets take a quick glimpse at each element of fiction that you can use to hone your craft.
Plot is the sequence of events that occurs from cause and effect.
Setting is the location and time frame of your story.
Characters are the driving force of your story, and they aren’t always human.
Conflict addresses the different drives of the characters or involved forces.
Symbols can be literal or implied and shared in many ways with your readers.
Point of View is the perspective your story is told from. You’ll often see this abbreviated as POV.
These are the most accepted elements of fiction to focus on as you develop your craft. Some may not agree with each one, but I feel that each of the listed elements is essential to creating the best story. All will overlap, especially as you layer each element into your story in later revisions, but don’t worry too much about them individually now. If you’re working on a first draft, just write the story and work with what you already subconsciously know. Then, as we address each element, I’ll cover how you can focus on these elements for your revisions, rewrites, and edits.
The Elements of Fiction, with practice and commitment, can take your writing to the next level. It won’t guarantee anything, but the more you commit to your practices it will show up in your work. The primary Elements of Fiction are plot, setting, characters, conflict, symbols, and point of view. These can all be learned, practiced, and developed, which is the reason we call writing a craft. So, I hope you join me on the journey this year to hone your craft with this newfound understanding. Please send questions or comments via my contact page, or add a comment below. Thank you for reading, and as always, keep writing, keep learning, and stay fresh, my nugs.
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