March 3, 2016

Writing Your Southern Story

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine 

Prolific southern author, Pat Conroy, has a unique insight in how an individual becomes a writer. He candidly questions, "do you think that Hemingway knew he was a writer at twenty years old? No, he did not. Or Fitzgerald, or Wolfe. This is a difficult concept to grasp. Hemingway didn't know he was Ernest Hemingway when he was a young man. Faulkner didn't know he was William Faulkner. But they had to take the first step. They had to call themselves writers. That is the first revolutionary act a writer has to make. It takes courage. But it's necessary."

I love a book that has twisting plots, and secrets revealed at just the right time with layers of carefully constructed descriptions drawing me into the author's created world. I like lovable but flawed and evil beyond evil characters.

I am drawn to southern authors who have unique story telling abilities. Pat Conroy states, "here's what I want from a book, what I demand, what I pray for when I take up a novel and begin to read the first sentence: I want everything and nothing less, the full measure of a writer's heart. I want a novel so poetic that I do not have to turn to the standby anthologies of poetry to satisfy that itch for music, for perfection and economy of phrasing, for exactness of tone. Then, too, I want a book so filled with story and character that I read page after page without thinking of food or drink because a writer has possessed me, crazed with an unappeasable thirst to know what happens next." To me, Conroy's list is what personifies a great southern author.

On Facebook, I interact with authors for my job. I'm constantly finding authors that speak to my reader's soul. On Tuesday, I discovered a blog post from December written by southern author Claire Fullerton. Somehow I had missed reading the original post during the holiday season. Someone else had read the post this week, commented on it which is why I saw it March 1st on my Facebook feed. A lesson to all authors to repost some of your blog posts from time to time because someone may have missed it the first time. If you are an author who appeared on Southern Writers Magazine's blog, Suite T you might want to consider reposting your blog post on all your social media links because like me someone may have missed the original post. Make sure to monitor for comments so you can respond, gain readers, and up your Google footprint.

Claire's blog post is "A Southern Christmas Story" titled, "A Place in the World."

It drew me in and left me wanting to know more about her characters and their stories. Of course, I sent her a message letting her know how much I enjoyed her post and story. "A Place in the World," left me wanting more. I want to know these characters. I want to know their history and secrets. I want a book, please Claire. Her story evokes a layered multi-faceted tale to be told. A tactile story from her southern author's soul, resonates with my soul. As Conroy states, "a story untold could be the one that kills you." Like Claire, write that story, but consider expanding it to a book.

Do you have a story you are dying to write?

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