There is a bond among authors that defies complete understanding. However, there are a few insights that contribute to the bond. It is almost a cultic thing.
I’ve written fourteen books and had them published. Most of the authors that I know personally agree that many publishers and editors are a pain. They automatically believe they can improve on what they read. My stock answer is, “It’s my book.”
Years ago an author shared with me an insight about finishing a book. “It’s like giving birth to a baby.” I imagine it’s a sense of relief. At least that has been my feeling.
I know ten authors personally. Marilyn Cram Donahue, Michael Modzelewski, Bob Harvey, David Parker, Jr., Don Davis, Subia Johni, Lowell Linden, Stephen Clark, Steven Hite, and Lynn Williams.
Writing is an art form and it must be cultivated. I’ve only known two men that never needed to rewrite what they had written Jack Smith, who wrote columns for years for the L.A. Times. And Charles Roberts, editor of a local paper. It is an amazing skill.
However, I’ve never met an author who can write a finished paragraph without change or corrections.
Authorship has many varied venues or expressions. Novels, documents, scientific journals, biographies, text books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, catalogs, transcripts, dictionaries, etc.
Most of the authors I know are voracious readers. I am. I always have 4 or 5 books that I’m reading. Always one is a novel. One of my favorite authors is David Baldacci.
Writing for a newspaper is a specialty in itself. Thirty years ago when I started to write for newspapers I visited several editors for advice. Much of their advice was extremely helpful. I was told to read the writings of people like Jack Smith, Art Buchwald, H.L. Mencken, Mark Twain and Erma Bombeck.
Write short paragraphs with words that ten year olds can understand. Focus on themes that are of interest. Decide on your interest: news, investigative articles, human interest, religious news, political emphasis, travel, etc.
Andy Rooney, in one of his books told an interesting story about Igor Stravinsky. As a young man, he was a columnist, but it drove him crazy with its breadth. There was not a limited field of endeavor. So, he turned to music. Music is limited to the notes of a scale. He became a great musician with over 100 compositions.
I prefer the former vocation of newspaper columns. The reason? It provides me and other similar authors with an opportunity to express a large range of ideas.
It is really ideas that make the world go around. For good or ill. Consider the history of human freedom. It was Moses who injected the idea into human history that no one had the right to make another a slave. The Greeks gave us the word “democracy” but Jews gave us the meaning of the word-freedom. Think of the authors you appreciate reading. Ideas are their stock in trade. What makes their books readable and interesting are their ideas.
On the down side it was an idea that spawned Hitler and the Nazis. The idea was that they were “the super race.” There was no equal to them. This idea stimulated the forces of World War II.
To reinforce this concept, here are the words of Victor Hugo. “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” The metaphor obviously applies to the moment of childbirth.
Can you think of any idea more powerful than forgiveness? Think of what happened in Charleston, South Carolina a few weeks ago. Nine people were viciously killed by a demented man. Yet, in retaliation to the slaughter, the families of the nine victims all expressed the idea of forgiveness to the perpetrator. Victor Hugo had it right.
When ideas remain in the abstract, they become stagnant; null and void. They must be actualized. Bishop Gerald Kennedy, one of my many mentors, when speaking about the art of preaching, emphasized the priority of “emotionalizing the truth.” Or ideas.
That is as easy to do as it is to say. The use of illustrations, examples, stories, or anecdotes will clarify the truth or idea.
THE OBSERVATION OF VICTOR HUGO AND THE ADMONISHMENT OF BISHOP GERALD KENNEDY ARE WORTH THE ATTENTION OF ALL AUTHORS.
The above mentioned authors, including myself, follow the advice of Bishop Kennedy, in their writings.
Amen. Selah. So be it.