From bestselling author and former writing professor Dave Farland:
I was rewriting a scene this morning, listening closely to the sound and rhythm of the words in a passage, looking for ways to strengthen it, and it made me wonder: how many new writers take the proper care with their words? How many truly listen?
There are a number of ways to show that you’re a genius at writing. You might have break-neck pacing, or characters who become more and more alive as the reader learns about them. Your plots might be brilliant, or your argument scenes might impress and inspire.
But guess what? If your story doesn’t stand out based upon the beauty of your words—your sensitive use of language, your tone and style—it really won’t matter.
You see, lackluster prose is perhaps the biggest bar to publication.
. . . .
We look for authors who convince us through their use of words alone that their work will stand out. That’s why so many editors say that the first thing that they look for is a powerful and convincing voice—either the author’s narrative voice or the character’s voice.
. . . .
Many writers come to the craft late in life. They may have been computer programmers or healthcare workers or policemen, but they’ve always had that nagging desire to write. They’ve read great stories and may even have some wonderful talents—a gift for setting, or a deep understanding of businessmen and thugs—that can help them find huge audiences. But such writers often feel that they don’t have time to learn the writing craft, explore it. They don’t have time to take poetry writing classes, for example, and they think that it’s optional.
Guess what. It isn’t optional. If you worry that I may be talking to you, I’m talking to you.
Link to the rest at David Farland