Issue 12a, July 2014
Hello Again, Fellow Writers:
Reading Makes Us Better WritersI can’t emphasize enough how important it is to read well-written novels and stories in our genre of choice. For one thing, it makes us better writers and gives us ideas to experiment with in our own writing. For another thing, it lets us know our competition better and gives us the opportunity to compare our work to theirs. We need to know whether we’re reaching or exceeding the writing quality of other writers in our genre. I recently finished reading the first novel in the Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer and I am seriously impressed by the way he captivates the readers’ attention with detailed descriptions without sacrificing a fast-moving plot. Whether your favorite genre is science fiction or mystery, you will enjoy how this novel unravels one mystery to reveal another. You can read my review of this book at Must Read, Must See Books and Movies, but for now I want to talk about Vandermeer’s writing style.
Writing Challenge #12: Mimic the Best 2
Far worse, though, was a low, powerful moaning at dusk. The wind off the sea and the odd interior stillness dulled our ability to gauge direction, so that the sound seemed to infiltrate the black water that soaked the cypress trees. This water was so dark we could see our faces in it and it never stirred, set like glass, reflecting the beards of gray moss that smothered the cypress trees. It you looked out through these areas, toward the ocean, all you saw was the black water, the gray of the cypress trunks and the constant, motionless rain of moss flowing down. All you heard was the low moaning. The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.