Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[child] She amazes me, again

the_child was just here, knitting something involving four needles (no, I don't know what) in the aftermath of her math homework. She started talking about writing. First, she asked me about point of view. She didn't quite have the formal vocabulary down, but she had the idea firmly in hand. We walked through first and third, tight and distant, and did a little storytelling by example. Then we talked about second person, and sensory detail, and how it all fit together.

She asked me about landscape and setting, and how those descriptions were affected by point of view choice. So we talked through some of that, did a little more storytelling. I dragged out a Terry Pratchett book, and we discussed examples.

Her next question was about what happens when an editor receives a book that they thought was well-written, but they just didn't like. We talked about taste, craft and quality, and how manuscripts can be passed between editors and agents for those reasons.

Her final question was whether being a writer had changed the way I look at books, whether I paid attention to how things were being done instead of the story. I told her that one of my great delights these days was a book that caught me up so much I paid no attention to craft.

I have sat through weekend long seminars with adult writers who couldn't coherently discuss these aspects of fiction. My twelve-year-old is thinking it through, on her own initiative. She has resolved to pay attention to her reading and see what she can learn about writing.

I am amazed, and proud to the point of tears.

Tags: child, process, writing

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