Monday, October 21, 2013

Tool #46: Take an interest in all crafts that support your work.

. . . To do your best, help others do their best.

Roy Clark opens his chapter with these words:

"I abhor the image of the writer as a solitary figure. That romantic stereotype, associated with loneliness and struggle, has alienated many aspiring writers and blown a cloud over one of the craft's shining truths: that writing is a social activity. . . "

He goes on later to explain:

"In fact, you will never reach your potential as a writer unless you take an interest in all of the associated literary crafts. Cultivate this habit: ask questions about the craft of copy editing, photography, illustration, graphics, design and Web site production.  You need not become an expert in these fields, but it's your duty to be curious and engaged. One day, you will talk about these crafts without an accent. . .

As I develop as an author and journalist, these key figures continue to make my work better:

-Copyeditors. . .think of copy editors as champions of standards, invaluable test readers, your last line of defense.  .  . talk to copyeditors. Learn their names. Embrace them as fellow writers and lovers of language.  Feed them chocolate.

-Photographers. Make sure photo assignments are considered early in the process, not as an afterthought . . .Let the photographer teach you about focus, framing, composition, and lighting. Ask the photographer what you can do to help.

-Designers. . . Learn from them what you need to see and bring back from a scene, material that can be converted into sparkling visual and design elements. Ask your editor and visual journalists how you can  help them while you are doing research or writing early drafts."

Roy ends with a colleague Bill Boyd's Platinum RuleTreat others the way they want to be treated.

Now a suggestion from Roy's TOOLBOX:

- Read about the associated crafts. Find a good book on photography. Read some design magazines. Listen to conversations about these crafts and develop a lexicon so that you can chime in.

I hope you found useful this chapter tidbit from Roy Peter Clark's book, "Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer," published by Little, Brown and Company. You can find a copy here.

Four chapters to go!  Next week? "Recruit your own support group"

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel