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Between the lines

Find out how knowing my skill set helped me write Urban Legend in 5 days.

My name is Kit Crumb; I live in the Southern Cascade mountain range where I write stories of adventure fiction, mystery, and life on the edge. I’m a motorcycle rider, and martial artist of 50 years. I love old mines, treasure hunting, and the great out doors.

What I’ve learned in over 25 years of writing 30+ books is that the time away from the keyboard is as important as your writing. Away time, as I call it, can be filled with events that may inspire a sentence, color an event within the story, or change the direction of the story altogether. But perhaps more important, away time can expand your writing skill set.

The time between putting lines on a page filled with intrigue and suspense and being away from the keyboard can be as important to the quality of your writing as anything else you can do.

Knowing the importance of your writer’s skill set.

A skill set is defined as a person’s range of skills or abilities. In the case of this blog they are the skills and abilities as they apply to your writing.

Your skill set defines you as a writer. We all want to put out that unique story. Quality formatting, editing, and book cover are a given. But how you write that unique story is based on your skill set. Someone once said that writing is easy: All you have to do is sit starring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Sadly many writers have taken that statement seriously. When you write within your skill set you avoid the premise that writing necessities blood letting.

Your skill set is comprised of knowings:

Knowing your story inside out, and out lined would seem to be a necessity for producing quality writing. But several professional writers would disagree. Dean Wesley Smith who has produced over 600 books and is considered the most prolific writer in the country talks about writing into the dark, that is, according to Smith: Type in the first word and head off into the dark writing a novel with no plan, no character sketch, nothing but pure exploration. He says, that’s what writing into the dark is about. Pure exploration of a story. Then you have best selling mystery writer Shannon OCork who served on the board of the Mystery Writers of America for four years and describes the writing method used by a professional as follows: He writes a scene, and ideas run in his mind; possibilities. He mumbles, and mutters happily thinking what ifs. The pages mount. Characters begin forming out of the fog. He writes on, working from the vague to the concrete. Chapters roll by. But OCork ends with a cautionary tale. Give yourself every chance for success; start from strength. Your outline is your map, you’re going to have a plot and you’re going to outline it before you begin. Both Smith and OCork have a skill set for creating their story.

What’s your method? Out line, or write into the dark. Whatever you decide is part of your skill set

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