Word Painting: A Review

This is not your typically (sorry) boring book on writing where the teacher drones on and on, and you’re telling yourself, What a waste of good money this was.

Nope. Ms. McClanahan turns your head and gets your attention right in the introduction. She opens her mouth and you find yourself instantly immersed in an experience. Her explanation of why she even decided to write the book shows how description works. You won’t even know that you’re learning.

Rebecca has authored nine books, is an award-winning poet, essayist, fiction writer and educator who conducts readings and workshops throughout the country. So I think you just might learn something from her. And do stop by her website at: http://www.mcclanmuse.com/

She understands our “struggles of describing the world around [us] and the world that dwells only in [our] head.” She also knows “the occasional click of the lock, the satisfaction of words slipping into place, and those few unspoiled seconds, when the images in the developing tray coalesce.” (See what I mean? Gosh! —I so want to write like her when I grow up.)

You’ll fall absolutely in love with her. She’s you, with her passion for words. But her mastery of thought articulation will quickly put you in your place as the student who has much to learn.

Her book comes with exercises too. And if you’re the type who needs to see examples, well, she’s got plenty.

She gives practical suggestions “to increase your attention to the real world.” She discusses “techniques for engaging the eye of the imagination and discovering what the inner eye sees.” She talks about the musical qualities of language…maybe you didn’t know it had any. Now you do.

And she’ll show you how to “form descriptions that are accurate, sensory, imaginative and musical.” She’ll “explore how description contributes to the overall story, poem or nonfiction piece…how to weave description into the narrative arc….” and how to “use description to develop believable characters and settings, establish point of view (POV), modulate tension and move the plot along.”

I can’t say enough about this gal. This book of hers revolutionized my own writing. But don’t buy the book and go off by yourself to read it; bring it with you to Beth Self’s home, as Dana Sudboro leads a gaggle of us each month, chapter by chapter to the last page. We’ll be starting in January, so keep your eyes peeled to the Inspire Writers website for the exact date and time that we begin, okay? We’ll do the exercises and then come together to discuss our answers, perspectives, and the ways her book is growing and deepening our writing.

I can’t wait. Hope to see you there.

Jennifer Hamilton is a writer/editor who cheers the Auburn/Grass Valley Inspire group toward excellence; ever acknowledging that it is God who equips and trains, who opens and closes doors for opportunity. Her writing affirmations: Daring Faith, a 42-day devotional; two Bible Studies; DaySpring Cards; and freelancing for Cook Communications. Jennifer is also a blossoming grandmother of eight, a reflective mother of six, and the unexpected joy of her very own Solomon of nearly thirty years—all of which, has culminated into a masterpiece stroked in oils of complete surrender.

Find out more at www.jrhediting.com.  And while you’re there, leave a comment at http://jrhediting.com/blog