I cannot pass by one without pausing to admire it. If it’s within reach, I cannot resist touching it. I trace the retro curves and mechanical angles before finally letting my fingers settle reverently on the keys. Glass and lacquer, enamel and chrome, Bakelite and celluloid – the keys are the most irresistible part of […]
If your soul seeks art as mine does, you have probably seen a featured artist painting for a crowd. Now, imagine watching a writer at work. (Typing, backspace, backspace, backspace. Typing… more typing. Delete an entire paragraph. Typing again…) Why would that be so boring? 1) Of course, writing is not a visual art but also because 2) the final product shows us everything we need to see. Like glass, writing is transparent.
No matter how complex of an art writing can become, there is always one simple thing about it: you can see every single aspect that composes it. Every single word, white space, punctuation and choice the author makes is laid out in neat lines in front of us. Compared to music or painting where layers are stacked on top of each other so you see or hear multiple things at once or hide entire layers beneath a top coat of paint. Unfortunately, the transparency of writing does not make it easy because also like glass, writing is delicate.
Every piece of prose must have solid line to line writing. If the reader is constantly tripping over words or having to reread sentences to make sense of what is happening, the reading will not be enjoyable. Even if you have the most intriguing characters in the most original and suspenseful plot of the year, it means very little without solid prose. Thankfully, the skill of writing can be learned and is taught to every young child and honed throughout their entire education but the craft of writing creatively is much more complex.
Character and plot are obvious ones but there are small, yet critical choices in every sentence. Key word choices can make or break the mood of the story. Every character has to be round, consistent and interesting enough for the reader to want to live their life for a little while. Point of view, chapter length, present vs. past tense, how much background and detail to include, showing vs. telling. There are so many elements of writing that it’s impossible to think about all those things at once. That’s why writing depends a lot upon instinct and this crazy thing we call revision. 😛
The delicacy of writing poses the challenge and the transparency allows the opportunity to learn. Learning from that transparency is exactly what I’m hoping to push on myself and my readers with the Glass Typewriter.