This article is one of two called
1. The Miracle of Writing
2. The Miracle of Creating
One thing sure about the art of good writing is that the all time Master has to be Shakespeare. This can be stated with some confidence as it is based on the number of his works sold every year for hundreds of years and also the huge number of languages that his writing has been translated into.
What do we find when we examine the bard's writing style? The answer is many things. Perhaps we find all things and that's why he's such a wonderful example for us. Let's look at one of his greatest writing assets.
He was able to introduce double meanings into many of his verses. Because of this, it may be possible for two people, sitting next to each other and reading the same work, to interpret the same work in different ways. Because of this, one can read his works over and over and every time discover something new in his words.
The bard had the great ability to paint with full colour everything that played a role in his stories. The people, the background, the history, the politics, the customs, the mood, the plot, the turning points, the darkest moments as well as the final denouement. It is especially here we can learn from the Master. Here we can sit at his feet and say "teach us".
If one would write that a man A walks goes to the bar, has a drink, sees a woman B and then walks over to her, then the reader would probably quietly lay the book down, close his eyes and dream his own dreams. We should paint like the bard does.
Who is A? How tall is he? What colour eyes? Is he evil? Does he smoke? Why is he important?
In the same way we should vividly paint B and tell the reader exactly who she is. We should even be told what perfume she uses. The reader will probably want to know who is this B and why is she there? Is she a socialite or a tramp or what?
We should also be able to become familiar with the room, the furniture, the background music and the general atmosphere.
Above all, there is the so-called "hook". The reader should feel compelled to read beyond the first few lines or first few pages. Like a disinterested fish, the reader must be hooked. He must want to find solutions to the problems that he has suddenly become aware of. He should be asking feverishly why, what and how? The answers must come but not too soon. At first, they should remain a promise only.
It's impossible for any writer to describe what's in a protagonist's mind. We should be very aware of this. The author may not say that that old woman is hungry. The reader has no way of knowing that unless the woman utters something or demonstrates in some way that she is in need of sustenance. It's all about that well known rule "show don't tell."
Many stories are about joy, sorrow, hardship, success, love gained or love denied. Aren't there other themes that lie largely unexplored? Like satire, capriciousness, whimsy or discovery?
I'm sure that if a typical writer would make a record of all the words that he regularly uses, it may in some cases not add up to more than two thousand or so.
What happened to words like poignant, debonair, evanescence, dolorous, erudite, sanguine, sang-froid, weltschmerz, dilletante and oh so many special words that are all double coated with specific meanings? Should a writer not be a mind opener as well as a mere scribe?
Then comes the story line. Let's not show a disregard for its importance. Oh no. The story line is of utmost importance. No dog bites man here. Somewhere within you lies something special to tell. A story or a poem that the world should hear. Something that happened to you and left an indelible impression. A story told by your grandfather that you simply can't forget. Something stimulated by what you saw on TV last week. Perhaps it won't be a new story but you could tell it from a new angle.
Remember always that there must be a beginning, middle or end. There must be turning points and dark moments to overcome. It can't be set at even pace all the way through. There must be a dollop of vivid drama all along the way.
Let's look the maturity value of your writing. At eleven you will of course be a little childish. Later on you may be childlike. Your poetry may have simple word patterns or may have a simple thought such as a love repeated in a few forgettable ways. Such a poem, once read, can be packed away in a box and forgotten.
You see John Donne didn't write his poetry in a simplistic way. He explored his themes and painted them in many colours. He found depths that we can now sit back and savour. In fact we can reread his poems many times and always find something new.
At the same time many excellent writers don't use words that require a visit to the town library for deciphering. Don't let any of the comments here faze you or put you off. If you write a piece it's only to be expected that one will have to do several rewrites.
It may be a good idea to adopt an attitude that it's exciting to discover each new improvement idea as it come along.