This week we have been all over the map. Yesterday was sad, so, so sad.
Today we will once again look at another writing term that deserves some attention. This term, though isn’t about you as a writer, it is about you as a writing student.
We all learn as we go. We learn to read, learn to write, learn to conjugate verbs and learn to craft stories of our own.
Our teachers are our parents, or professors in school and the masters of storytelling that have come before us. As a writer, we devour their lessons and hope to regurgitate them on demand in the future.
Today, March 25th, is Tolkien Reading Day.
Many consider Tolkien to be a literary master. Some know that he and fellow author C.S. Lewis were great friends. Few know the two masters were a part of a writing group called The Inklings. Fewer still know that it was Lewis who pushed Tolkien to continue his fantasies and Tolkien gave push to Lewis for his.
There are many masters in writing. King, Koontz, Heinlein, Baker, Blume, Peterson, Hemingway, Tolkien, Lewis, Frost, Longfellow, Stein, Schultz… I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
We have learned a lot from these names and their words over the years, and will continue to do so into the future.
However, for today, I want to focus on how we learn, not so much what we learn.
There are many ways to learn, observing, doing, failing, teaching, and on and on.
One of the best ways to drive home a lesson, though, is to argue against it. Being the devil’s advocate, as it were. Fighting that the lesson is wrong, and debating how it can be improved. Which is what we will do today.
Pick one of your favorite writing masters. Research their teachings, find a quote or lesson and write it down. Then, write a pro-sided debate advocating for the lesson. Next, write a con-sided debate arguing against the lesson.
This writing prompt is full of mini-lessons.
Research is something all writer’s will need to do to hone and master their craft. It starts now for many of you.
After you have researched your favorite author and picked a lesson of theirs, read it thoroughly. Understand what point they are trying to make.
Then write about that. Why is this lesson a good one? What do we learn from it? What do we do with the information? How does it make us a better writer?
To truly understand a topic, though, you can’t be blinded. Arguing against a master of the craft is a David and Goliath task that not many want to take on.
If you want to rise to their level, though, you need to understand that everything has at least two sides. Even a writing lesson.
Find the other side of that coin and write that out as well. Why is the lesson a bunch of crap? How can it hinder you as a writer? Why is it bad advice?
The trick is to make both arguments convincing. You really need to believe them.
When you can accomplish that, then you fully understand the lesson. You know what it is truly saying and how it can make you a better writer, even if it means ignoring that lesson in order to do so.
When you are done, post the quote or lesson and it’s original source in the comment section below. Then post your two sides of the argument and let others decide if you truly understand the lesson as it is intended.