What does it mean to be a “writer?” I’m not sure there is a solid definition. The easiest would be to say “a writer is one who writes.” But there’s more to it that that. Everyone writes, even if it’s a grocery list or a text message; we all write. But what separates the writers from the scribblers?
To me, a writer is someone who enjoys the art of language. Who enjoys stringing words together, seeing a story unfold, patching a message together without showing the seams. A writer writes for the same reason a gardener gardens, a bird watcher watches birds: they enjoy it.
I write because I have stories to tell. I enjoy seeing the words appear on the page and constructing a story.
But, there is more than just writing. I write, but I also notice. I notice a lot of things. I notice how people carry themselves, how they act, how they speak, and how they dress. In a way, I’m the scribe for humanity. I’m taking notes on how people do things, what those actions means, and I’m switching them into something fictional.
Stories are about people: people doing, people changing, people overcoming, people discovering. Think of any story – what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s a character, isn’t it? Stories follow people as they make and handle problems and make decisions. The Hunger Games is about Katniss; it is the story of her.
(Fun side note – the computer thinks ‘Katniss’ is misspelled, and the only word it gives in replacement is ‘Satanists.’)
Every story is a story about a person. The main character is the heart of the story. For a strong story, you need a strong heart. A weak character produces a weak story. Is your character actively engaging the plot? moving the story forward? Or is she simply there, reacting, being saved, being moved by other players in the story?
(Think Snow White – she does nothing. Everyone else moves the plot around her. The Queen acts on her vanity to rid Snow White from the world. The dwarves act to save her and jump to action in the climax of the movie.)
Fun Fact: Snow White is my least favorite Disney movie. I can’t stand how passive she is.