Is Writing an Art or a Craft?
Artists like my friend since high school Kern Cunningham apply paint to canvas in inventive and explorative ways. They don’t always know where the work will lead them and may even be surprised by an element that pops up in the piece.
Writers known as “pantsers,” work the same way. They start with an idea and create a story by the seat of their pants with no formal outline. Experimental authors are praised for their artful blend of killer sentences and made-up words, rich character development, discrete voice, and illustrative settings. The results are kaleidoscopes of textures and tones, much like layered paint on canvas. In this way, writing is art.
But it’s also important to note that craft does the heavy lifting involved in writing as well. Many novels follow a plot formula or borrow familiar story tropes (such as the “hero’s journey,” the “love triangle,” or “the unreliable narrator.”) While the characters, settings, and outcomes are different, the skeleton borrows from already well-crafted, carefully constructed story bones. By the same token, writers like me, are “plotters.” I must have a formal outline with plot points and where their percentages points fall mapped out in advance of the journey. While rabbit trails have often led to peach-juicy scenes, I prefer to craft my novels, pouring over literary elements and grammatical styling choices–such as savory alliteration–to ensure that my art is indeed a craft.
Writing Word of the Week
This word reminds me of the opposite of gestalt, a concept I learned while working on a master’s in Instruction Design and Technology. Synecdoche- when a small part represents the whole thing (i.e. “wheels” representing the whole car.) Now sally forth and use synecdoche at a cocktail party. LOL.
- Greenville has such a booming nightlife scene now, locals have taken to calling it “Greenvegas.” (Not that we stay up that late anymore, but it’s still good others are getting out and getting down.) We have, however, sampled some great nosh spots. And the summer tomatoes are making my heart sing.
Recipe for our Fave Caprese Salad:
4 medium, red, ripe, summer tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
- By the time you read this, the inspection of our new home will be in the rearview! The best part is that we get to meet the painter and the kitchen-fixture lady there while they measure for their jobs. And I get to wander around–grinning like a fool–visualizing where my pretties will go. Closing is still set for Sept. 7.