Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cinco Grande -or- The Big Five

Bonnie (a very good writer) at Words from a Wordsmith, has tagged me with a writing exercise.

Thanks! Love to play along.
The idea is to come up with 5 strengths that I have as a writer.

1. I love wordplay... changing a word or the spelling of a word to effect a different meaning; challenging my mind, and I have a few friends that play the word game with me; it's lots of fun. One of my favorite blogging word game moments was with Jon from Writing in a Vacuum, he regaled his readers with the story of a farm-dwelling student of his, the boy said he'd delivered a calf over the weekend; Jon teased him and asked 'how did you get it through the letter box?' and I couldn't resist answering, 'but of course, he folded it in calf!'
Having practiced writing this way, quite frequently, has made me better at it. I can hold my own, most of the time now.

2. Metaphors... I find these most useful when I am trying to express a particular idea, opinion or belief (mine of course) in a way that will persuade the listener/reader. I love seeing metaphors in art, in life, in words, in everything. We are all connected to everyone and everything else in a visceral way, and communicating that brings me great satisfaction. I am reminded of the cycles that Vanilla and Chief Biscuit recently discussed in regards to the turn of the seasons; while they enjoy the coming of spring and I am relishing the new days of autumn... we are all dancing the waltz of time and season and yin and yang, we are partnered with our opposites and we rely on the balance that it brings us in every moment of every day, in step with time that has passed and time that will come, and in our fractions of cycle we are made whole by each other, by balance, and the circle is complete.

3. Style... The signature of the writer. How do they write... how do they begin, draw you in, and let you go, hopefully bettered by your indulgence in their words; perhaps by knowledge, encouragement or reinforcing the conviction of your own thoughts. Good style is paramount to successful writing, and it develops and changes over time; as the writer grows and changes, so too does the way the ink falls on the page. I write with determination, depth and purpose... unless I'm word playing. I want my words to mean something to the people that read them; I cannot draw up that which is within me, craft it into the written word, and offer it up without knowing that there is some value to be gotten from it for the eyes, mind, heart and soul of those who would take time to read it.

4. Devotion... I am wholly devoted to writing. I always have been, since I learned how to put words together. I called a publishing company when I was 12 years old and asked their editorial department if they published books written by 13 year old people (I thought it might go better if I sounded older). The woman who answered the phone was annoyed and short with me, but it did not deter me. They said no, by the way. I still don't leave home without pen and paper, and a camera- these days. I learned a long time ago that the written word can change things, change minds, change life. I consider it a responsibility by virtue of morality, to write well, to write honestly, and to write so that others may learn and glean benefit from it. I saw this recently when I shared my essay 'Losing the Vision' with some teenage girls. They were changed by it, they learned some important lessons in it. In the discussion following the reading of the work, they expressed surprise and opinions, and their personalities and minds developed more. The frosting on the cake was that there were others within ear shot who were not part of the discussion but who joined in because they couldn't walk away from it. That is making a difference. That is success, and it is the harvest of devotion.

5. Constructive Criticism... The single best way to grow as a writer is to allow others with knowledge and experience to prune your words. To help shape your style. To teach you. To show you what you could not see. I really like getting constructive criticism. It comes from so many different people and situations, but as long as it's encouraging and helpful, it is always welcome, and always invaluable. Editing is a tough job, it takes the right eyes and mind, to see what is good and what could be better, and then to return a work to an author after having sliced through it with the red inked saber quill... that takes someone special. It only works when the other half of the deal... the recipient, is willing to take the edited work and grow with it. Accept the changes and continue forward. It is always fascinating to me to see my work refined by other minds. To step into their shoes and look at my work through their eyes. It changes everything so much. I have been most lucky and blessed to have happened upon a very talented and kind editor in this funny old blogosphere, and it has been my deep pleasure to have worked with her -just a little so far, more to come later- as writer and editor. Minx from The Inner Minx, has taken to editing different works for others in our group and lucky for us all, she's very good at it. Thanks, Minx, for great editing. It is that sun and rain which helps us grow strong and magnificent.

Now I get to tag 5 others.
OK... 5 of my favorite writers - and please remember, there are several writers that I quite enjoy here, but I had my hand slapped for bending rules before, so it shall only be 5 this time.

1. Minx
2. Jon
3. Sognatrice
4. Verilion
5. Cleopantha

Have fun, can't wait to read it all.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore


Jon M said...

Now this is a 5 that I'll struggle with! Every writer thinks they're crap! :-)But I love the positive vibes that are fizzing from the challenge! :-)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Jon! You'll do well. Your humor and thoughtfulness, wit and kindness... it's all very good stuff.
Much better than crap.

fizzing huh?

okay. That's good.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Minx said...

5 strengths, eh?

eastcoastdweller said...

This was a good, meaty post, something to chew on for a long time.

I know a lot of writers, some of them great, some of them in serious need of some advice -- but how does one give it without risking the death of a friendship?

sognatrice said...

Agreeing with all of the above comments in varying degrees. There's a lot here to read and think about.

I humbly accept this tag and am already thinking about my strengths--what a great exercise for writers, in particular, since as Jon so accurately notes, we sometimes lack in the confidence department.

I'm on it!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Hmm, I got tagged by Bonnie too... But I've yet to do the meme and put it up on the old blog. But I think I know, after days of pondering what the five strengths are! That's at least a start! :-)

And thanks for the link ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you. l was just thinking of the meme l promised l would post and then saw your post and comments. Hows that for a little blogger ESP. l was wrapped up in my series. l will do this. However, l need some pondering time as it is thought provoking. l will add that l feel quite touched that you enjoy my writing. You did so well on your top 5 :0)

Pearl said...

Lovely. I enjoyed reading your strengths reasons. Your joyful spirit would be your bonus strength,

exskindiver said...

great strengths.
i am glad to see a new post.
sorry for the melodramatic email.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


You have several more than 5; I expect a good list! Wonderwriterlady.


Kind of like a caramel chew huh? I like those. Guess if I started chewing one at the beginning of the post, I might be finished with it just about the time I got done reading!

Constructive criticism is given kindly and with patience; a good friend will take it. Good luck.


I made good picks... I know each of you will do well. Sometimes it is tough being kind to ourselves... so maybe this is good practice!
Can't wait to see your list.


Glad to link to you! You are a quality blogger! Better start your list though. I had to make sure I didn't tag the same people that Bonnie named. Glad you were one of them, you'll have a great list!


Thank you! I quite enjoyed that whole series of rapturous tales. Kept me swooning for weeks! Very fun.
Do more soon, do the memes when you feel like it. ;o)


Thank you, that's very sweet! I hadn't even considered it. Huh.
Funny how others can see so much in us that we miss.


Glad you liked it.
No, thank you for checking on me! I love that you did that! It's very thoughtful and sweet. I can't tell you how touched I was that you did it.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

chiefbiscuit said...

Very informative - thank you - and thanks for the call out too! :)

Minx said...

I have partook....

Irrelephant said...

I can just see you, toiling away there under the spreading chestnut, your leather apron on, hammering and shaping words until they're fit to dash into the cooling water and placed on a side table to be polished and emblazoned. *grin*

Verilion said...

OMG. Right, well it may take me a while to get to this, but I am thinking very hard about this one. Aaah.

Shameless said...

Yes! At last! There's a new writing project up at The Shameless Lions Writing Circle site. Please check it out and I hope you can take part and promote it. Also, check out the "latest news" section.

Vesper said...

Great list, Scarlett, very heartfelt. I have no doubt you have many more strengths...

The Passionate Palate said...

Scarlett - I learned a lot about you through your writing strengths. Thanks for sharing. I especially like the image of you never leaving home without pen, paper and camera!

sognatrice said...

Hey lady, I've posted mine:

5 strengths as a writer

Lots of fun! Thank you much cara :)

Jon M said...

Done mine, Miss!

Kat said...

I've found that only those who understand that editing notes are there to help not hurt...are really writers. Good list Scarlett.

Stephanie said...

Found my over here from your comment on spf. I am so totally about the visual that I am always in awe of you writers....

Really beautiful!

I'm a Colorado girl too.....

chiefbiscuit said...

Hey Scarlett! I have nominated you to write the next instalment at Shameless Lions writing Circle! :)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Of course! You have a wonderful blog that I love to visit and it's only right to share it!


And in a very good way too, love your list!


Yes... yes. Smithing words. There's a whole colony of us here.
We're in really good company!


You thought of things on your list that no one else thought of!
I'm glad you played, thank you!


I LOVE the new project, it's wonderful!
Be right over.


That is so kind of you, thank you.
Glad you liked it!


HA ha... well, it's some kind of cosmic irony... if I leave home without those three things, invariably I will miss something I would desperately want to capture in word and image.
Never fails.
So I go prepared... just in case.


Wonderful list! You did very well bella writer!

I don't know what writer is in Italian. I'm off to babel fish to find out.

Good job Jon!
Love your list!!!


Thanks! I always learn from others; perhaps I will see something I did not see before, or I will see something that resonates within me because I recognize it and agree with it, or I see something that I disagree with and learn about that... so many things.


Welcome! I will come over to visit with you soon. Glad you stopped by!


HA! Really? YAY!!!

Ooooohhhhhh... the pressure. Thank goodness I just handed in two big papers, now my brain can refocus.

Thank you!!!
I will do my best. Viaggiatore says he will help me.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Anonymous said...

Hi consider my top 5 done :0)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Your 5 are wonderful!
So out of the box. You are such a clever, deep girl; always thinking of things in such a unique and interesting way.
I LOVE your list, it's very good.
Thank you so much for playing!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore