Rhetorical eloquence is a learned skill. Though many may have as we say, “the gift of gab,” a writer must acquire an appropriate vocabulary and learn to express his or herself in an effective manner that will assist communication with publishers, editors, fellow writers, and readers. This means that there are terms and concepts a writer must learn and absorb. I’m convinced that through reading good articles and books on writing, and memorizing and imitating the language and phrases of others, a writer can acquire needed communication skills that will enable the writer to talk about his or her writing with eloquence. In today’s market, writers must be able to talk and write about their books. Good speeches and an understanding of the business of writing will help sell books.
One magazine I personally rely on to help myself is The Writer’s Chronicle, a publication of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. I’m in-between books right now, so I’ve been reading some articles to help develop my own eloquence. This week, I’ve carefully read three articles, one each night before I go to sleep, carefully underlining the phrases that are worded eloquently or that teach me something I didn’t know or haven’t noticed about writing. Here are the articles I’ve read this week that are helping me learn to talk writing:
“Lever of Transcendence: Contradiction and the Physics of Creativity,” by David Jauss. This article opened my eyes to the power of Janusian contradiction and made me think of my own novel-writing strategies.
“Structural Strategies for the Multiple Plot Novel,” by Debbie Lee Wesselmann. This article analyzes several novels that use multiple plots (The English Patient is one) and discusses the limitations and benefits of the techniques authors use.
“The Art of Creative Research,” by Philip Gerard. This article reminded me of the importance of research and how it can breathe “into your writer’s brain some glimmer of language, sensation, or idea that can then shape itself into something more” (52).
Tonight, I’ll be speaking in Ruston, Louisiana. I’ve got radio interviews scheduled, and my calendar is filling up quickly. My personal sales have been brisk as I promote Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House. I want to thank my beautiful friend Tina for the promotion ideas she shared with me a while back. It looks like her ideas are going to produce some results.
News: It’s official now. Yesterday I signed the contract with Pelican Publishers to publish my Stories of the Confederate South. If all goes well, it should be in print with them this summer. I’ll be interviewed on a local radio station, K-104, sometime around 8:15 a.m. Thursday, May 24.