What a joy to be writing for Reading Between the Wines . . . I look forward each evening to pouring a good glass of wine and settling back to read over what I’ve written that day. . . usually with Daphne, my cat, curled in my lap.
Nothing ever seems real until I see it on the page. Often I’ll change the vanilla font I write in to something exotic before I print the pages because I find it (literally) gives me a fresh perspective. Also, perhaps because I’m an actress as well as a writer, I read my work aloud. And always with a pencil handy! Most of the time I’m striking out words or transposing order to give easy flow and a clean finish to a sentence. If it’s a mouthful as I read it, then I’m overwriting. I try to make my verbs do the heavy lifting; good action verbs that eliminate the need for qualifiers.
I’m not a literary writer. I don’t like dense, convoluted sentences that stray from telling a story and moving the action forward. I have my own private list of words that I try not to use. When I see one pop up in a sentence, I know I’m struggling, working too hard, and need to simplify.
I’m a storyteller. I take my cues from the lessons I’ve learned as an actress playing before audiences. Acting is doing, a physical act incorporating all the senses. I think in terms of scenes, setting them up so specifically that the reader feels present as the action unfolds. What’s happening? Why? Where are we going? I want to be there.
I never forget another lesson I’ve learned as an actress . . . there’s usually a flicker of humor in even the most tragic situations. A moment of levity, a wry observation, an unexpected occurrence in what would otherwise be a solemn occasion provides a sense of reality and a poignant, human touch.
I love writing. I can’t not do it every day. Whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction, or simply a note to a friend, such a lot is revealed to me about myself. Where did that come from, I wonder? How did I know that? It’s all there, waiting to flow into the written word.