Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Study The Craft by Linda Yezak

I don't usually have guest bloggers but this lady is special. I met her February 2, 2007. I received an email with "Hi, I'm Fred's friend" in the subject and there we were. Fred is my favorite creative writing professor from Stephen F. Austin University. He always encouraged me and I vowed to pass it on. Together, Fred and I commented on Linda's first attempt at novel writing--probably canceling each other out. But inspite of our comments, Linda has written several novels, won and placed in contests, mentors others and even edits for a small press. You've probably seen her on the 'net because she's everywhere! Meet my friend, Linda Yezak.

Anyone who regularly reads Praise, Prayer, and Observations knows Jess Ferguson has a gift, a fruit of the Spirit, a God-given talent for exhortation, so you can imagine what it was like for that sweet woman to tell me my first attempt at writing reeked. She couldn’t do it. Although they probably should have, the words, “Don’t give up your day job,” never crossed her keyboard. Possibly because of our mutual love for a cranky critter who lives here in Nacogdoches, but more likely because it’s not in her to discourage dreamers.

When I started my first blog, 777 Peppermint Place, Jess read all my early posts and cheered me on like a proud sister. When the one of judges of a major writing competition hurt my delicate feelings, Jess jumped to my defense with all the snarling rage of a she-wolf. She has been a major encourager for several years now, so being invited to post on her blog is one of my biggest honors.

I remember sharing with her a comment I’d received from who-knows-who, telling me I should study the craft of writing. I wrote something akin to, “C’mon, who does that?!” Well, as she was quick to point out, everyone who takes writing seriously studies the craft. So I studied. Edgerton, Bell, Gaymer-Martin, Maass, Kress, Kempton, Rozelle, Le Guin, Gerke, Brohaugh. Even after becoming a two-time Genesis finalist, I’m still studying. For as long as I can see the flaws in my own work, I’ll be studying. And once the flaws are ironed out, I’ll study more in pursuit of perfection.

After the first few how-to books I read, I saw a massive difference in my writing. I became more alert to things I’d done wrong in the past and made a conscious effort not to make the same mistakes. I picked up techniques for writing action scenes, character descriptions, solid structural foundations–I can’t begin to list everything that improved after pouring through the how-tos. Study is one of the differences between writers who make it and those who don’t. Have I made it? No.

Give the Lady a Ride is only my first novel–well, my first novel worth reading. The fact it’s published is just a rung on the ladder. If I continue studying and writing and reading the works of others–and get that second book published–I may get to step up another rung. But I guess the definition of “making it” differs among writers, and I guess I’ll never “make it.” Success for me means that each book I put out is better than the last. When they pry my gnarled fingers off my keyboard and lay me down to meet my Savior, I hope I can say I made it.

Back cover copy:

Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York. Talon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas. He thinks she’s too polished. She thinks he’s insane. Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission–letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced. Soon, she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend. To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.” From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.

Author Bio:
Two-time ACFW Genesis finalist Linda Yezak resides in the state of Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. Aside from being a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she also belongs to Women Writing the West (WWW) and The Christian PEN. She lives in the heart of a forest with her husband, three cats, four ducks, and a pond full of fish.


Linda Yezak said...

Jess--thanks for allowing me to post for your fans! I'm sorry the paragraph breaks didn't work. I have that trouble with Blogger too sometimes.

Love your new look here!

Sheila said...

Right on the money, Linda! We should continuously learn--whether writers or not. I've been going over and over my own ms, reworking it. Still learning and still writing it. One day I may say--"It's finished." Thanks for giving us a glimpse in your own writing process.

Charles Gramlich said...

Good luck, Linda. Looks like an intersting book. It's hard these days to get new works noticed but some people have the right combination of writing talent and social intelligence to pull it off.

K.M. Weiland said...

'Nother great post here, Linda! I'm totally on board with a continuing curriculum of the craft. It amazes me how I can read article after article and book after book on the craft - and always, always, always come away with a new tidbit. I don't think we ever stop learning in this game. I hope we don't anyway!

Linda Yezak said...

Sheila--it's true, whether writers or not, we should study. Whatever it is that captures our passion, we should study it. As writers, it's fun to study everything--and stick it in a book!

Charles--Thanks. I hope I have the "right combination"!

Katie--I know how immersed you are in the world of writing! Everything having to do with the craft captures your attention immediately!

Jess said...

My apologies, Linda and readers, for the lack of paragraphing. I have no idea why I can't get this post formatted properly but it's a losing battle.

Linda, thanks so much for being my guest blogger and I wish you God's best with your book. I've got my copy so in a few days I'll settle back with it and enjoy. :)