Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art verses Craft

My best friend is a writer. She is also a "bookbinder". While she hates anything that has to do with crafts, I love creating with paper and fabric. When I have started a project that involves anything from a craft store we usually discuss her dislike of them. The few times she has decided to "make" something I usually razz her because I know I'm going to get a response from her. Trust me it's fun.

When she started taking book binding classes I was a little jealous, it's something I have allways wanted to learn. Well lucky for her I live in the boonies and she lives in the city. She got to take the class and I got to be jealous of her over the internet.

The discussion of whether what she does is either an art or a craft is a common discussion between us. What is the definition of art versus craft? Is there really a huge diference? When we were little didn't we all take "arts and crafts" classes in school? Didn't those classes involve anything between painting/drawing on paper to creating those little clay pots for mothers day? Just yesterday I laughed about her booking a table at a local "craft fair" hosted by a scrapbooker. She even defended her position by informing me that most book binders are men. Okay. . .

While I consider myself an artist I also consider my self a crafter. I love manipulating things to get the result I want. I love taking a few yards of fabric and turning them into something beautiful. While I insist that what I do whether it's writing, sewing, drawing or papercrafting is both art and craft she insists that things like bookbinding is an art.

I'm fine with the "art" label, I really am. But I also firmly believe that the actual process of making a book is a craft that is learned. I know that bookbinders call it a lost art and I won't argue with them. But taking materials and using tools to make something completely diferent than the raw materials is, in my opinion, craft.

While a clay pot is art, the knowledge of how to spin and fire and glaze clay into something that can hold water is craft. At least that is my opinion.

Writing is the perfect example of both art and craft. While a finished book can surely be called art, I believe its more the way words flow from a writers hand. The picture that they paint in the readers mind is an art. The time it takes to learn a craft such as writing is equal to an artists time spent in creating a masterpiece.

However, I believe that knowing how to construct a sentence, how to write a character that a reader loves, how to plot and then execute that plot, how to do all those things that a writer needs such as formatting, writing synopsis and querys is where we writers use craft. While some writer may have a beautiful story or an amazing character if the execution, or CRAFT, of that wrtiers skill isn't great, the story will completely flop.

A begining seamstress can not create a beautiful wedding dress, a begining writer cannot become a master of words with thier first draft. It takes time and lots of practice to combine both the art of story and the craft of writing to become an author that is worthy of reading. Knowing how to meld the two is I think what all "artists" of any form strive to achieve.

So while my best friend insists she is an artist, I insist she is also a crafter. Of not only words, but also paper, leather, book board, and glue. Maybe my elementary teachers were right in teaching "arts and crafts" combined because in my head, there's no seperating them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Putting emotions in your writing

As I type this I have been pondering the above title. How do you put emotion in your writing? How do you get your character to show emotion? How do you convince your reader to identify with your character without going overboard? Where is that overboard line? How do you write something painful or sad that you don't want to experience yourself? How do you make good writing great by adding emotions?

What are your thoughts? How do you as a writer add emotion? What do you as a reader expect in a book?

My mind is churning, I hope to learn as much as I can and get back to you guys.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another update.

First sweep of the revisions are done. I have sent it out to readers and will hit the book at least one more time.

I can't believe I am this far. Wow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Revision update

Just quickly before the kids come home.

I am HALF WAY done with my revisions!!!!! I will hopefully finish the revisions next week.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Try your hand. . . . With a twist.

These last few months have been hard on me and my muse. As I have been editing Emergence in hopes that it will get picked up by a publisher, I have realized how much emotion I have poured into this particular manuscript. In moments where I have had the time to draft something new, I have been frozen by the "what if" bug. Not the "What if my character did this". No this is worse, it's the "What if this book is crap and no one likes it?" bug. Followed closely by the "then why draft the sequel if its crap?" thing. Its been a very emotional ride.

One thing I did find that helped me, was a distraction, hense the "try your hand" title.

I am also getting ready for a baby that is due in the end of August. One day when I couldn't stand to look at my computer for one more minute I shut the thing down and went upstairs to the baby's room. I love the room, it is very peaceful in my house of chaos. As I sat there I realized that there was plenty of stuff I needed to do in there. So with no thought about my story I sat on the floor and just started to work on the things that needed to be done.

It was calming and I felt better once I had a stack of things accomplished on that mile long to do list that every mother has. I was actually able to pull up one of my MS that needed work and actually work on it.

Often times we forget that theres a cure in leaving the thing that had frustrated us for so long and in doing something else. I think we get in a rut of doing either nothing or doing the same frustrating thing over and over again that we don't see the option that is waiting just outsie of that "wall of inprisonment" of our own making.

How many times do we only see that one thing that is frustrating us and not see the solution that is right there jumping up and down waving its hands wildly?

For me I leanred a lesson, and I hope I dont forget it soon.

What is your distraction? Do you use it often, or do you let the problem override it? Do any of you use service for others as a distraction? Let me know, I am curious.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just a note. . .

I am looking for a few people to read my MS as I finish the revising period to see if I missed anything. It'd be 1-2 chapters a day/5-10 ch. a week. I want to get this MS done by June, July. Any takers? Please comment and I'll get ahold of you.