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O is for opening your mind to new approaches

October 4, 2012

What writer-type stuff do you want for Christmas (or your holiday of choice)? Let me know. We’re compiling a Holiday Gift Guide for publication in early December. 

The guy’s name was Steve Davidson and to be honest, he intimidated me a little bit. He was plain-spoken and didn’t suffer fools gladly. I took a journalism class as an elective. He took journalism as a major. And I challenged his approach on an article he wrote for class one day.

He didn’t suffer fools gladly. And while his approach wasn’t the typical structure for a journalism piece, it was well-written and poignant. I was wrong, but that’s why you go to college–to be wrong and learn from it (and drink beer and meet girls). Steve is a lawyer now, according to Facebook. Based on the brief time I knew him, I believe that is journalism’s loss. He taught me a lesson about writing, I still try to remember: be open to new approaches.

One of the hardest things for accomplished people to do is to re-invent themselves. After all, if you’re successful, what you’re doing works. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be successful. Why change what works?

Steve Davidson taught me you change what works because sometimes other things work better. Do you write in third person? Why not try first person? Or perhaps your work would be richer with an omniscient narrator–one who sees the ticking bomb under the table. Or maybe you should try a non-linear approach to your story–starting at the end first and then telling the majority of the rest of the story in a flashback.

Maybe you should try a protagonist that can’t use the same public rest rooms you do. Maybe you should try poetry. Maybe you should try an essay or a haiku. Maybe you should write about politics or writing or why the Mets are constantly rebuilding. Maybe you should try writing a script.

Maybe if you’re stuck, you should rewrite a scene or two from another character’s point of view. You might find out things about that character you didn’t know.

Maybe you’ll get done with one of these exercises and decide it was a complete waste of time–time being a precious and finite commodity. And then maybe six months down the road, it’ll click with something else and the time won’t be wasted.

In Star Trek canon, Vulcan philosophy is based on the concept of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. They perceive this as a good thing. In your writing, it’s definitely a good thing.

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One Comment
  1. October 5, 2012 11:34 am

    Excellent.

    Ms. Karen Bain Local FL: 561 310 6236 kbain10@yahoo.com

    >________________________________ > From: Florida Writers Conference Blog >To: kbain10@yahoo.com >Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2012 6:01 AM >Subject: [New post] O is for opening your mind to new approaches > > > WordPress.com >Chris Hamilton posted: “What writer-type stuff do you want for Christmas (or your holiday of choice)?Let me know.We’re compiling a Holiday Gift Guide for publication in early December. The guy’s name was Steve Davidson and to be honest, he intimidated me a little bit. H” >

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