Monday, February 23, 2015

COMPOSING VERSUS CRAFTING

If you are a writer, you can compose a letter, but crafting, that’s a whole other matter. Writers of publishable works craft books, blogs, and stories. Crafting is not needed in a loving letter to Granma.

Crafting involves bringing the story alive for the reader and hooking their interest to make clear the intent of the piece regardless of length. It encapsulates the characters’ motivations and winds up the action for a satisfying and informative conclusion.

 My favorite journalists who do this well include Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, and Leonard Pitts. My favorite authors over time who do an excellent and subliminal job of crafting include Margaret Mitchell. (Yes, she was a journalist first). Has anyone read the short story, “Lost Laysen”? Checking  990 Peachtree Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30309, Phone:(404) 249-7015. Or amazon.com
Google, two sources popped up on the first page, and you might also be able to order “Lost Laysen” from the Margaret Mitchell Museum in Atlanta,

 Margaret Mitchell’s will instructed that her unpublished works be destroyed at her death, but “Lost laysen” escaped unnoticed for years. This gem was found in the attic of Margaret’s former boyfriend by his grandson. She was sixteen when she wrote it and gave it to him for his sixteenth birthday. It shows her as a budding journalist and fiction writer with wonderful potential. It’s a typical teen point of view of life in exotic locales, which she had only experienced through research. See her museum home:


 Nora Roberts, John Grisham, and Jodi Picoult are some other favorite authors on my list who have crafting down to an artful art. Many more readers prove trustworthy to both surprise and satisfy us. Some leave us hungry for more, but not because anything has been left out.

 If their books make us eager to stay with the characters and follow their progress they might be fodder for series sequels. Who can deny wanting more from Jamie and Claire of the Outlander series. That couple has touched hearts like none since Romeo and Juliet. They are always compelling in modern times or historical settings.

Most good crafters are both pansters and outliners. The writer might start off with an inspiration and even an ending in mind, but the human nature the character created takes off in other directions. Then the crafter will decide what is viable and what in selfish author intrusion. Crafting takes discipline and forethought. 

In many of my books my women get strong the hard way. They are attracted to the wrong man before understanding their own needs and finding the right life partner. In Tangled Web, Catherine is intelligent and ambitious. But in 1935 opportunity, not just for women but for emerging males, was not knocking at their doors. Hitching one’s wagon to a star was the most acceptable way for a woman to reach her goals. 


In Tangled Web, Catherine falls for a Lothario, Jack O’Brien, whose ambitions know no bounds, and for whom, a girl like Catherine: beautiful, sensitive, and eager to learn the ways of the upper classes, he has no patience. Jack has just overcome his own indignity, emerging from a second generation Irishman to a man of power with ownership of a successful silk throwing mill. (Catherine makes thread.) He no longer carries the stigma of being an unwelcome immigrant. He is not about to be brought down by a Welsh lass with her own needs and agendas.

 These two characters drew themselves on the pages. Writers can allow the characters to write their story, but a “crafty” writer is not easily lead.

Find Julie at:


Twitter: @JulieEPainter

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