Recently someone, whose opinion I respect and who knows what she’s talking about, gave me some advice about my writing that wasn’t really a revelation – that although my writing is enjoyable, there is something that’s not quite there in terms of lyricism.
In the process, she compared my writing to Charles de Lint (one of my favorite authors –EVER!), suggesting that I read his work to get an idea of what I might add in to my writing. She had no idea that I’ve read everything by de Lint, so even a brief mention that my writing has an air of his work was enough to send me into raptures.
That, however, is where I find myself at a bit of a loss.
Given that I’ve read (and adored and attempted to model my writing on) de Lint’s work, I’m not sure my next move. Since I know his work inside and out already, what more can I do to add more of his rapture-inducing lyricism to my own work?
I thought I’d study or analyze his work, but I’ve never been able to do that, even when I studied English Literature in university. It’s not a case of breaking things down into adjectives, adverbs, metaphors, analogies, etc… as that destroys the very lyricism I’m trying to study. And in reading any of his stories, short or long, I get lost in the writing itself, which is why it’s so good – it accomplishes what it’s meant to, which is take me away to another world.
In other arts, what does the artist do? Does a painter study the individual brush strokes and color choices of his idols or does he stare at the whole painting for hours on end, absorbing it in its entirety? Does a song-writer break down her favorite tunes into individual notes, phrases and instrument choices? Or a poet his ideal poems into verses and separate images?
When I critique other writers’ work, I base my comments on any point where I fall out of the story, for whatever reason – word choice, plot confusion, over or under describing.
Hmmm… It looks like I’ve just answered my own question. De Lint transports me to another world and due to his skill, I never fall out of any of his stories, so what I need to do is separate myself from my work sufficiently to read it looking for those fall-out-of-the-story moments.
Wish me luck!