Posts Tagged ‘on writing’

Out of Focus

By: Deb Buckingham, Contributing Editor

As someone who shoots people (I know where your mind went), I often think of ways to marry terms from various fields. Photography, for example.

Seems a little odd but, keep reading.

As a photographer, my job is keep the image in focus; a sharp, clear, and well-defined, “tack sharp” photo makes for a happy client, and for an image that’s clear and well-defined. In photography, the term “tack sharp” describes an image that shows the subject in sharp focus, with clean lines, and no blurring.

Photography is much like writing in that your “client” is your “audience”. You want them to feel all the feels and know that you, the author, can create a story that’s balanced and “in focus”. Not blurry.

When you think of your current writing project, whether that be an article, short story or novel, do you feel it’s tack sharp? Are there some blurry areas? My piece of work may be sharp (in focus), but the details are blurry, unfocused, and indistinct, until I flesh it out.

Let’s play with this a minute.

Writing has key components we all know…focusing on a clear, manageable central idea, organizing your writing with a well-defined arrangement of material, your word choice is sharp and accurate, your spelling and grammar has been cleaned up, your use of technical terms and proper names is used intentionally, and you’ve left your reader with a sense of completion.

You, the writer, have the hard job of putting all these components together to create an in focus piece of work. Am I right?

Do you see where I’m coming from? Why I thought marrying the terms of photography with the writer in mind was a good thing? So, what is your job as a writer?

Let’s define writer: a person who has written a particular text, according to the dictionary. A writer is someone who writes. Obvious answer, I know, but it could mean a novel, an article, a short story, a blog post. All of which I mentioned above. It doesn’t matter, really, just that a writer writes. Right?

I have found in all my years of writing, whether that be any of the ways above, that to be in focus, I need to begin out of focus. We all begin out of focus. It’s something that creates a path for us and gives us direction. It’s something that allows us the freedom to start in one way (out of focus) and create a piece of work that ends (in focus). A way to write with intention.

And, that’s ok. Everyone does it.

Beginning with your work out of focus; your job is to put it in focus. Are you still with me?

Finding your voice in writing is one way to make for a more in focus piece of work. It reminds me of The Voice where contestants are asked to make a song their own by not just doing a karaoke version. That’s boring and not original. Voice is something that will allow you to focus on your material and allow you to be YOU. It’s a time to shine and create that piece of work that’s your own.

You might think I’ve veered off the rail road track with the voice comment, but honestly, it’s the way in which you write that gives your voice a comprehensive, well-defined, and clear piece of work.

In Focus. That’s where you want to be!

Deb Buckingham headshotContributing Editor Deb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.


By: F.P. Dorchak

How do you “get” it?
Do you need to attain it?
Why keep writing?

I don’t know that it’s something to so much as shoot for…as it’s more something you just…fall into. I’m not quite sixty, and have been writing for some fifty-one years. I’ve written ten full manuscripts (at about two-to-three years per manuscript), but have only released five novels and one anthology. I’ve lost track of how many short stories I’ve written. The better of them are in my anthology, Do the Dead Dream? An Anthology of the Weird and the Peculiar, which won the 2017 Best Book Award for Fiction: Short Stories. The anthology came out October 1, 2017, but only sixteen of those have been individually published. And though I’ve been writing fifty-one years, you’ve never heard of me. Or my work. Or my newest abovementioned effort.

Yet still I write.

I think we can get too caught up in the accolades and tropes of society. Like “longevity.” What should be the ameliorated focus is appreciating the voyage…not being praised for, nor identified as having attained, some loftily defined or heralded conclusion. Though it is nice.

Let’s talk more about the voyage.
Enjoy each moment.
Enjoy the beauty of writing and the imagination.
Enjoy creating mental images from your generated words. From stringing together characters into words into phrases into sentences into paragraphs, pages, and books.

How you’ve created a notional construct…translated it through your physical form…your arms, your hands, your fingers…through use of a material instrument—a pencil, pen, a keyboard—into physical reality for others to read. Interpret. Create their own notional constructs. How you are also influencing the emotions and thoughts and perceptions of other people.

Fear. Anger. Love. Enthusiasm. Astonishment!
Marvel at the volume and diversity of what you’re conceiving!
All of the different stories that are being created from some weird place that you simply cannot touch. Yet directs your focus. Your beliefs. Your…living.
That is both there and not there.
The origin and generation of which scientists and philosophers cannot even begin to agree upon.
And from that medium…you’ve created tales.
They just keep coming and you keep writing.
You start submitting to publications. Some get in…most do not. You’re disappointed.

But you keep writing.

You feel like a sweating, barely containable firehose in full-on operation! You can’t get your stories out fast enough! As Time marches on you find that you’re getting better…more efficient at linking words into organized arrangements…and doing it quicker. In fact…you’re using fewer words to get the job done. You’re discovering less vulgar…more refined…ways at hammering home your concepts…and they’re hitting harder than ever. Where it used to take you a paragraph…you’re now employing sentences…sometimes only two or three…and at times…as many words.

You find—much to your utter amusement—that as you submit your romances, your mysteries, your horrors, you have created…a body of work.

You’ve become more confident about your words and your ability to wield them. You’re less bothered by rejection, or what others think…and move on to the next one…the next publication. You write just to write. It’s what you do. Who you are. You know that rejections are not about you—they’re about them. That your work isn’t right for them…philosophically or practically. You know you’ll eventually find your audience…large or small. It is your audience.

Besides…you’ve got work to do.

You keep writing.
That dulls…erases…the disease of rejection.
You feel good again!
Just keep issuing forth.
You translate them!

String words together in ways that astound you, and you wonder how that happens. From where do your ideas and methods originate?
Some will get what you’ve done…some will not. It doesn’t matter. You have stories for everyone.

And you keep writing.

Then…somewhere down the line…before you know it…you’re looking down upon your body.
Freed…like never before.
Your corporeal existence laid out before you like a crystal-clear and multi-dimensional Venn diagram.
A life well-lived!
Or not.
But it was your life.
And you have even more ideas.
So you…reach out…in ways…unimaginable…until now—
And, yes, you’re just itchin’ to tell these tales….

@ F.P. Dorchak

F.P. DorchakF. P. (Frank) Dorchak writes gritty, realistic speculative fiction. Frank is published in the U.S., Canada, and the Czech Republic with short stories, non-fiction articles, and his five novels, Sleepwalkers, The Uninvited, ERO, Psychic, and Voice. His first anthology, Do The Dead Dream? won the 2017 Best Book Award for Fiction: Short Stories.

Check out F.P.’s website or click here to read a few of his short stories.