Over the last few days I ended up taking a bit of a break from writing- at least the part of it that involves sitting down in front of a keyboard and typing. My husband’s birthday was close to the weekend, so we decided that we would spend time together, both with friends and by ourselves and celebrate the fact that he was alive and in relatively good health.
It was during this time that I was reminded of the importance of listening for the writer-or for anyone for that matter. Listening of course, involve hearing, but it is more than that. Listening involves taking in the world around you, and considering it carefully. It means critically thinking about the truth of someone’s words, the potential fault of your own, and of course how your reaction mirrors your instinctive feelings for the situation.
As a writer, I strive to make my words sound as natural. While writing dialogue I always stop and ask myself- “Would the character really say that? Would he or she use those particular words?” I also read my work out loud. It’s a great way to see where the stumbling blocks are. If I can hear myself struggling to read the passage, it’s far from a natural progression of the words.
Really listening also provides a way for me to come out of my comfort zone. Forcing me to consider things that I disagree with or fundamentally dislike is one of the ways that I grow as a person, and as a writer. Lately I’ve been reviewing a lot of romance and romantic suspense stories- a type of genre that takes up very little of my actual library. While I enjoy having romantic elements in a story, romances in general are not really my cup of tea. However, by reading them, and listening to what the author has to say, I can grow and deepen my understanding of the craft That, in turn I hope will make me a better writer.
© 2014, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.