The Gifts of Writing

Everything in the city was clammy, doorknobs and train handrails slick with other people’s sweat, the air heavy with the smell of yesterday’s lunch.

If that isn’t enough from page one of Sara Novic’s debut novel, Girl at War, perhaps sentences from page two will prick your writer self:

We took cold showers and walked around the flat in our underwear. Under the run of cool water, I imagined my skin sizzling, steam rising from it. At night we lay atop our sheets, awaiting fitful and fever dreams.

There are many wonderfully written books on the market today, including those from RMFW members, both PAL and IPAL. However, I chose Novic’s work to illustrate two important gifts writers need:

  1. Descriptions that arouse the senses.
  2. Not everyone will like, let alone enjoy, your work.

Following are excerpts from a review of Girl at War:

“Girl at War draws loosely and unconvincingly on the war in Croatia…”

“Dialogue is not a strong point.”

“Of course, the war is what gives the novel its relevance, yet many readers will be bewildered by the author’s apparent confusion of Croatia with Bosnia. The war-torn version of Zagreb that appears here never existed…”

Read the full review here.

Gifts writers give:

  1. Characters who converse naturally and with era-appropriate clarity.
  2. A story that starts strong, stays strong, and ends stronger. These books can’t be forgotten, nor can penetrating characters and stunning descriptions.
  3. Well-utilized research—especially for historical fiction.
  4. Willingness to help others.

This holiday season, give yourself and your readers your best. (I’ve sent a list to Santa which contains many works of RMFW members.)

Rainey Hall
A Colorado native, Rainey, (writing as L. Treloar), has been a RMFW member since 2012 (or so), and is happy to belong to one of the best critique groups ever: The 93rd Street Irregulars. She has self-published The Frozen Moose, is currently re-editing the first manuscript in a political thriller series, and has entered two contests with her 2016 NaNoWriMo Historical Fiction novella. In her spare time, she enjoys organizing anything from closets, to military family retreats, to rodeos and parades. Along with teaching her cat to retrieve, she volunteers at church and The Horse Protection League. With an Associate degree in Applied Science/Land Surveying, she learned she far prefers words over math.