Specificity; a lesson learned

A specific day that commemorated the bonding of writers, a rite of passage, a beginning.

The MFA at Whidbey Island was a journey in awakening to the potential within.  This day, last August, was but a jumping off point for the challenge of finding my place in the writing world.  When I entered the program three years before, my mind was closed.  During the journey, it took on a hint of malleability due to necessity and a flexibility in opening to the value of critique.   From constructive critique, we improve. From bonding with other writers and offering our shoulders, we gain support.

One of my greatest lessons, if not my greatest lesson, was to write with specificity.

“When we know the name of something, it brings us closer to the ground. It takes the blur out of our mind; it connects us to the earth….It makes me more awake. ” (Writing Down the Bones. Natalie Goldberg)

The following is an example of specificity in writing. I have the honor of knowing Stefanie Freele, also a graduate of Whidbey.  She is a most talented writer and just published another collection.  Check it out.  “Surrounded by Water”  put out by Press 53 (www.Press53.com)  The following is an extract from one of these stories: “Feisty Rojo”

“Just one country store where a gray dog and perpetually pregnant cat snuggle on a chair outside the screen door.  Everyone local knows this place. Coastal low mountains. No real town to speak of. Miles of black hills silhouetted by clear night sky. Snow in the winter. A smattering of houses. A lonely winding highway.

There it is, in the middle of those hills…the casino, as bright, as glowing, as out of place as a topless dancer in a children’s library.”

Can you visualize this in your head?  Absolutely.  Concrete nouns, adjectives and images.

Stefanie Freele invites you to “Stefanie Freele: SURROUNDED BY WATER

Author Stefanie Freele will be at Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, on Friday, June 29th to talk about her work as a fiction editor and writer, and to read from her latest book, SURROUNDED BY WATER.

Prompt for today:

Stefanie’s book cover is an upholstered chair on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water.    Write a 250 word story using specific language with this image as the theme.



Kaye LindenSpecificity; a lesson learned

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