Final Project 2 for SNHU English 510
Learning to read like a writer has changed the way I view literature. Learning the craft of writing has changed the way I analyze literature. Learning how to open myself to new possibilities has changed the way I write. By utilizing the techniques learned in English 510, I plan on taking my writing further by making it more powerful, rich, detailed, and difficult for the reader to put down.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR AND THE TARGET AUDIENCE
Young Adult fiction is an important step towards a lifetime love of reading. The role of the Young Adult writer is to create a story that reflects who teens are, what they are craving, what they fear, and what they dream about. The writer must listen to what the characters say, and how they say it. I aim to continue listening to the hopes and dreams of teens. This is easy for me to accomplish, I have teenagers in my house, I teach teens, almost every aspect of my life includes teens. The main thing that I have to remember is to listen. If I ever decide to change genres, I would make sure to do the same thing with my next demographic What do the readers in that specific genre want? What do they expect? What are the literary conventions that should be ascribed to?
CREATIVE WRITING STYLES AND TECHNIQUES
Listening is extremely important, however there are also many creative writing styles and techniques that can be employed. The following is a list that I intend to employ in my writing:
- Setting: One of the main things I’ve learned is that setting can make a huge difference in your writing. No story shows this more than The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The setting has its own personality as evidenced here: “I don’t like to look out of the windows even–there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?” (Gilman) While most writing does not include a setting that comes alive, a setting cannot only add color and vibrancy, but it can also add to the story telling, in that it can remind the reader of what has passed (flashback), or show what’s to come (for-shadow).
- Literary Themes and Conventions: I need to think more in depth about the themes I am presenting while writing. In my own writing, theme has been subject I scarcely think of. Abandonment, fear, loathing, and heartbreak are all topics a novel can be built around, making them themes. Conventions are something that must be acknowledged when writing for specific audiences. Conventions are what readers expect to see in certain books. In mysteries they expect the detective to find the criminal. In romance, the two lovers realize their love, and live happily ever after. In Young Adult literature a main character that is a teen is expected to face angst, societal norms, and have inner turmoil. I plan on embracing this and using it to the fullest in my writing for teens. One can clearly see the angst in The Catcher in the Rye, in the following quote: “One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. That’s all. They were coming in the goddam window. For instance, they had this headmaster, Mr. Haas, that was the phoniest bastard I ever met in my life.” (Salinger, 17)
- Style: Every writer has their own personal style. This is powerful as it’s something that your readers will grow to love and look forward to. Personally, I enjoy reading works that feel as if you are in a conversation with the characters. This is why The Catcher in the Rye and The Secrets of Being a Wallflower were so effective. David William uses the illustration of a symphony to help the new writer understand what good style is in his article entitled What’s Your Writing Style? Do You Even Have One? “…good rhythm” as being “ like a perfect symphony orchestra where all the different instruments in the orchestra blend together beautifully to create sweet, soothing and enjoyable music.” (William) Every writer needs to find their perfect symphony in their writing.
- Figurative Language: Symbolism is important to bring layers to a written piece. It can help the reader see an added aspect in the main character without telling them outright, it can even help in foreshadowing future events. Figurative language can include metaphors, similes, foreshadowing, symbolism, personification, and hyperbole. Figurative language gives more meaning than just the words written on the page, it gives the brain something to wrestle with, and adds a dimension that otherwise wouldn’t be evident. This is clearly shown in the imagery of the tunnel in The Perks of Being a Wallflower: “But mostly, I was crying because I was suddenly very aware of the fact that it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I was downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite.” (Chbosky, 213)
Knowing your target audience is not only extremely important in marketing your work, but also in writing it. While writing, it’s important to think about who will be reading your work. A 19 year old female would gravitate to different literature than a 50 year old woman. Tone, pacing, dialogue length, and chapter length must all be considered, as well as cover design and marketing materials. The conventions you choose must also equate to who you are writing for, if the writer is targeting teens, a teen main character, with first person point of view is what should be considered.
The target audience of my writing is specifically teen girls. Teens often feel that their problems are larger than anyone else’s, I aim to write in a way to let them know they are not alone. I plan to write about topics that teen girls are thinking about, topics they have questions about, issues they are scared of, whether they see it around them, or have struggled with the very issue themselves. I must write about these issues in their voice, showing their concerns and having my characters work through them in a healthy manner, with realistic pitfalls along the way.
CREATIVE WRITING APPROACH
Writing is a series of choices an author makes. These choices are what should be noticed when you read like a writer. When reading like a writer word choices are noted as well as techniques that the writer employs. Each choice is examined critically, deciding for yourself if it is effective and can be used in your own writing. In the article, Mike Bunn states, “You are reading to see how something was constructed so that you can construct something similar yourself.” Taking note of these choices helps the writer to build their own voice and learn new ways to express yourself. Reading like a writer has already transformed how I wrestle with a piece of writing, I inspect each word, each phrase, each choice an author makes. For example, using letters in The Perks of Wallflower makes the novel feel personalized, it brings the reader in and makes them feel comfortable, as evidenced here: “I think you of all people would understand that because I think you of all people are alive and appreciate what that means.” (Chbosky, 2) In this statement he compliments the letter recipient, therefore complementing the reader, this is very powerful, and something I may bring into my own writing. I tend to write in first person point-of -view, so the realization of how far I could push that point-of-view was a wake up call for me. I can do so much more with it and I look forward to doing just that.
Change must occur, I have so much to re-read, rearrange, and redraft. What I addressed above is something that I plan on utilizing in my current manuscript. Change must occur, I have so much to re-read, rearrange, and redraft. My use of setting needs to be explored, the I am writing is about a girl that had to stay in her darkened room for two years. I need to create a rich setting that would reach out and make the readers understand how bad her health situation really is. Utilizing figurative language is something I plan on exploring. The head injury my main character sustained is a terrifying injury, one that can’t be described with only words. I must dig deeper; I believe using figurative language will help. I plan to use foreshadowing to accomplish this. I also need to pay attention to the inner dialogue of my main character. I need to make sure she comes alive to the reader as much as she’s come alive to me while writing her, if I don’t do this, I have failed. The use of setting needs to be fixed, my story is about a girl that had to stay in her darkened room for two years, I need to create a much richer setting that would really reach out and make the readers understand how bad her health situation really is. Using figurative language would help this process along as well. The head injury my main character sustained is a terrifying injury, one that can’t be described with only words. I must dig deeper and I believe using more figurative language would help. I plan to do this through using foreshadowing. I also need to pay attention to dialogue and the inner dialogue of my main character. I need to make sure she comes alive to the reader as much as she’s come alive to me while writing her, if I don’t do this, I have failed.
I’m sure this list will often change as I grow and expand in my writing, but for now these are the topic I need to concentrate on. Armed with these skills, including reading in a new way, means I am on the verge of the next step, which is exciting. I can’t wait to see where these skills take me.
Bunn, Mike. “How to Read Like a Writer.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, vol. 2, Adobe Ebook, 2011, pp. 71–86.
Chbosky, Stephen. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Gallery Books, 1999.
Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Project Gutenberg, 25, November 2008.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1952/1952-h/1952-h.htm. Accessed 12, October 2017.
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. 1951. Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
William, David. “What’s Your Writing Style? Do You Even Have One?” The Web Writer