Craft & Creativity of Writing. Learned or Developed?

YVONNE LEHMAN is a best-selling, award-winning author. Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic (Abingdon, March 1, 2012) is her 50th book. Others to be released in 2012 are A Knight to Remember (Heartsong, April) and Let it Snow (Heartsong, November), the 2nd and 3rd in a series. Yvonne founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years and now directs the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat held at Ridgecrest, NC in October. She is a Mentor with the Christian Writers Guild. She will be signing the Titanic book April 27, 28, and 29 at the Titanic Display in Pigeon Forge TN.
Can be learned.
Material about the CRAFT of writing is all over the internet, at conferences, in books, English classes, Literature classes, writing courses, critique groups, internet loops where we ask and receive questions and answers. All those are great. It’s our education. We read others’ writings and discover how they did it. We experience rejection (returns!) which can teach us whether we’re truly committed to writing, why we write anyway, and encourage us to learn more.
No matter how much we learn about a subject, a profession, it means nothing unless and until we put that knowledge and experience into action. Craft enhances creativity.
Must be developed.
At my writers conferences, many beginning writers have bemoaned the fact that God called them into writing, they’ve been writing for two years or more and still get rejections. I tell them they are to start in the stock room, not as president of the company. Some may never become the president, but we can become a valuable employee in the organization of writers.
This is an example often used because it’s so apt. When a child is discovered to have talent in playing the piano, does he quit taking lessons and apply to be a concert pianist? No. That’s when extra lessons and extra practices begin. That’s when more is required. The same with writing. If we have a talent, then it’s time to being studying the craft and practicing the creativity, and continue.
Most writers long for the time to write. I hear this over and over – I have family, I have a husband, I have a job. My reply is that this busy time is our training center. We’re learning to be everything so that we have something to write about. So often, the difficulties and challenges in our lives that we don’t want, but go through, are what enrich our lives, our faith, and our writing.
We spend a lot to time learning the craft of writing, and we should. We likely can never know enough. Too, we should spend considerable time taking a subject that is not new, that is not original, and make it exciting, beneficial, new to the reader because we say it, experience it, learn from it, in a way no one else can.
Moms could be given the assignment to write about how they discipline their children. Each might have the same method of standing them in a corner. However, the results would be different with each child, or their reaction would be different, or the moms’ reactions would be different, or each would have her own unique way of telling (showing!) the story.
Twenty-one of us published writers wanted to show other writers that we could use the rules (craft) of writing, write about the same subject, even use the same elements in a short story and each would be different. The five elements to used in each story are:
The first line: The wind was picking up.
Mistaken identity
Pursuit at a noted landmark
Unusual form of transportation
The last line: So that’s exactly what she did.
The book of short stories is titled What the Wind Picked Up (iUniverse). We showed that a story can be told many times, include the same elements, and yet be different because each writer has his own unique style and voice.
Sometimes we hear, “That’s already been done.” Critics might say that about the Titanic and I suppose everyone watched the movie. Yes, the sinking of the ship has been done. However, the stories of my passengers, my characters, had not been done until I wrote about them in my novel Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic.
This 50th book of mine is a composite of what I’ve learned about life, craft, and creativity in my thirty years of writing.  I could not have tackled a Titanic story with confidence had I not experienced the years of learning, studying, teaching the craft, practicing, writing, re-writing, failing, being rejected, and being accepted.
Those who succeed are those who don’t give up, but continue to study the craft, practice the creativity, work through the challenges, because it leads to the joy of publication and having our words mean something to another person, as the Lord created us to do
Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic
Of all the unbelievable things that occurred, the strangest phenomenon took place. The floating half of the ship began to melt like a dollop of butter on a hot roll. It just melted smoothly into the ocean and the hoard of people were in the water. Their hair didn’t get wet. No water splashed on their faces. For an instant they didn’t scream. They couldn’t. A communal gasp went out over the sea, produced by hundreds and hundreds of terrified people who unexpectedly stepped into icy water up to their necks.
The ship of dreams vanished, disappeared as it sank into the sea.
In its place emerged a nightmare.
The sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic was not the end of the story for the 2207 passengers, plus the crew. It was the beginning of an unforgettable event that changed history, changed culture. There were only a few hundred saved in the 20 lifeboats. Not only were hundreds and hundreds of souls lost that night, but the event touched people throughout the world. Each person had family, friends, acquaintances and their lives too were touched and changed. Being saved was not the end, but the beginning for those who struggled not just to survive, but to live again.
Read this incredible story of