Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Nancy Werlin - Guest Blogger
I have a copy of Extraordinary, and I hope to get to it soon. In the meantime, I'd like to welcome it's author, Nancy Werlin.
Guest Blog Post by Nancy Werlin: Essays and Blog Posts
But I really do love it. I remember when my sophomore English teacher Mrs. Dubois taught our class the classic five-paragraph essay. One paragraph of introduction leading to the thesis statement. Three paragraphs of supporting evidence. Then for the final paragraph, restate the thesis in different terms, and then end gracefully.
The budding writer in me took to the essay form like a duck to water. I branched out from five paragraphs to other, more flexible structures. I loved the brain workout of finding the right words to explain what I was thinking and why, and then figuring out the right way to order the information so that it would make the best case possible. Learning when to use sarcasm, when to use humor, when to appeal to emotion, when to appeal to logic, when to use examples and analogies. Understanding when to write in a flowery way versus when it would be most effective to write plainly and simply. (Most of the time, in fact.) The building blocks of a good persuasive nonfiction essay are many and varied and colorful. And fun, they are fun! And it's fun to use them deliberately and with intention.
When I'm writing an essay, writing feels to me like playing with Legos, whereas writing a novel -- especially a complex, serious fantasy novel like my most recent, EXTRAORDINARY -- is more like building a real house that people will live in.
Still today I sometimes write English essays for fun. Often the content is about books and/or writing. You can read a recent one on Libba Bray's blog, about THE HUNGER GAMES. (Link: http://libba-bray.livejournal.com/57981.html) I've been feeling another essay coming on -- it's going to be called "What Makes a YA Heroine?" and will be about the question of how tough a girl needs to be nowadays, to qualify as a heroine.
Thank you, so much, Nancy, for taking time to remind us what we're really writing and reading when we blog.
Nancy Werlin's website is http://www.nancywerlin.com/
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780803733725 (hardcover), 400p.