Alain K Gunn - Official Website

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August 8, 2014

     The first blog of an author should be about writing, this form of creation that separates human beings from all other animals. And so it shall be.

     Why do I write? Because I can. Like Everest for Hillary, writing is there for me. Dancers dance, painters paint, composers compose, singers sing, and writers write, and it's not because any of us have a choice.

     We don't. We have a need, not a choice. We communicate because we must, via whatever medium is our forte. I've been writing since I was a child. I wrote short stories when I was nine, sports articles in high school, newspaper features in college, research articles in medical school, scientific summaries and textbook chapters during my medical career. All this time, I wrote short stories whenever I travelled, and finally novels. Gradually, I became a professional.

      Professional writers and amateur writers are cousins, not twins. Writing is easy for the amateur, hard for the professional, because the professional knows it can be better. Professionals have to put in their 19,000 hours of work in the field to become proficient.  In the process, writers learn trade craft, from their mentors, from analysis of the works of others, and from their own mistakes. As they do, they become more critical of their own work. They begin to agonize about single words, clarity of sentence structure, and organization of paragraphs. They learn to clarify their thoughts, to be conscious of point of view, and to be careful about time and tense.  They develop an appreciation of hidden meanings, recognizing the connotations of their words, the assonance of their intonation, and the rhythm of their sentence structures. They learn the rules of grammar and when to break them.

     Good writers must have something to say. A bore who speaks with shining eloquence is still a bore. Creation is the combining of experience with imagination to bring about something fresh and new. Writers avert boredom in their readers by either relating experiences that are beyond the average or by making the average so relevant to readers that they are pulled into the story and their own lives are viewed in a new light. To do this, a good writer must have both a creative imagination and a wealth of experience.

    I've been a "bent arrow" all my life, a person who entered my professions through circuitous routes. In doing this, I gained experience as a career military officer, an orthopedic surgeon, a medical school professor, a researcher, and an author. I travelled widely, across six continents and a hundred islands. Not content to see only the land, I learned to scuba dive under the oceans, lakes, and rivers. Experience is my long suit. As for imagination, you'll have to be the judge of that. All people have imagination. The question is whether that imagination can be disciplined in such a way as to create something memorable for the reader. I hope my writing can add something valuable to your lives. Please let me know if I succeed or fail.