A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away...
I learned something new last week. I didn't know what a fronted adverbial was but when I saw someone mention it, I looked it up.
Fun fact: the Star Wars opening crawl starts with a double fronted adverbial. Yup, fun.
So, why did I mention this (other than ANY excuse to slide in a Star Wars reference)?
It's a nice introduction to today's theme on life-long learning, and what I call continuous professional development (when I have my teacher hat on) and it's super relevant to us writers too.
'A rolling stone gathers no moss'
And that is also true of us who write regularly (if only it was MORE regularly! 😂) and intend to do so for the rest of our lives - published or not published - MUST continue to develop and learn, that storytelling telling craft (especially for non-naturals like me) is something that can always be learned and improved upon.
Sure, I love my craft books - some of them are life-changing, even beyond writing, and have affected me in deep and meaningful ways, altering my brain's neurochemistry and neural pathways in irreversible, but advantageous ways. They have expanded and broadened my horizons and thoughts, even if they haven't changed them in a huge way.
For a storyteller, our job is connect readers to a character and their attempts to do something - to find love, to get to the ark of covenant before the Nazis, to blow up the DeathStar, to save the baby Yoda from the Evil empire, or simply to stay alive.
But the complexity and array of human emotion and possibilities to do this are so vast and wide-ranging, that the more we delve into that well of character-psyche and we read how others do it, both on the surface of the actual finished and published novels, or by dissecting and studying the mechanics and inner workings of that novel, the more we develop our storytelling craft and continue our professional development.
Someone once told me (and it's really stuck) that if you want to be a professional writer, you have to act and behave like one: ie bum on seat and write, mood or not, mojo or not, life getting in the way or not.
And part of being a professional is constant development of the skills that make you effective in that role.
Writing is not an ethereal, magical skill only for those gifted by some mystical force, like the Jedi.
It is for all us, and if we work hard, and learn, we can all become better at what we do.
Writing, like the Force, is for all. It is not just for the Jedi or the Sith, but for everyone.
Remember Chirrut Îmwe from Rogue One:
'I am one with the Force, and the Force is one with me.'
So let's begin the year, the way we mean to go on: let's read more books, both craft and actual novels or PBs, and let's become the very best developed creative we can be.
Writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.
May the Force be with you,
Ps here are some of my fave craft books if you've never read one:
- Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke
- The Ultimate Hero's Journey: 195 Essential Plot Stages Found in the Best Novels and Movies by Neal Soloponte
- Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
- The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Wired for Story and Story Genius by Lisa Cron
- The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr