I’ve not yet met an “About” page that I like.
A personality thing, I guess. Writing about myself in first person doesn’t suit me, and yet it feels stilted to write about myself in the third person, so let me instead tell you a (very brief) story of a little girl, who was diagnosed with a hearing disorder.
She became obsessed with sound, so she studied music — piano and clarinet and flute and French horn — for the cadence, rhythm, and the feel of sound. In school, she paid attention to grammar, diagramming longer and longer sentences so she could understand how the structure of a sentence can be heard.
Later, she studied foreign languages — French, Italian, Russian — for the nuances of words, and the feel of consonants and vowels. She fell in love with the flexibility and versatility of words and their meanings.
And finally, she studied creative writing, earning her Masters of Fine Arts from Goddard College.
But there was one more thing for her to study—the art of style. And in so doing, she discovered how a writer’s style…
- influences readers’ emotions — For example, why do the words “kill”, “murder,” and “assassinate” carry different emotional weights, and how do you decide when to use one versus the other?
- carries subtext — How do you write a sentence that conveys to the reader more than its literal meaning, where what is not said is as important as what is said?
- creates emphasis — Where in a sentence does a writer place a word so it delivers the greatest impact?
- orchestrates the “music” — Why does varying one’s sentence lengths, just for the sake of varying sentence lengths, entice the reader—into throwing the book away!
Style in writing influences emotions. Who can hear John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural speech without being stirred? or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream,” and not find their heartbeat elevated? These men knew there is more to a word than just its meaning. They knew about its sound — or as Ben Yagoda calls it, the sound on the page.
And so this young girl, now not so young, began to teach others what she had spent a lifetime learning.
Here’s what one of her recent students has to say:
“McKenna’s “Writing with Depth: Our Word Palette” course was an eye opener for me as a fledgling writer. Before taking the class my writing was stiff, like a corpse, but the lessons forced me to consider the words I used in my writing and specifically choose them. My skills still have a long way to go, but they are much more developed thanks to McKenna.” —Martin Greening
Thank you, Martin!
So welcome to my cozy corner of the writing world.
I’d love to help you actually hear and then build upon your unique voice. This is, after all, the best way to ensure that your work catches the ears (and eyes) of editors and publishers.
Regardless of your current writing skills — whether you’re an emerging or advanced writer or poet — you’re no doubt on the look out for ways to expand your knowledge of the most basic tool you have: the written word.
Ready to hear and build upon your sound on the page?
Let me help you determine which of my courses best suits your needs.
Let Me Know! where you wish to take your writing.
P.S. If you would like to hear the sound of my magical-fantasy writing, you find my professionally narrated short story, “The Story Rug,” on AudioBooks.com.
If you would prefer to read one of my short stories online, you’ll find “Continental Divide” at Prime Number Magazine. You can also read one of my favorite creative non-fictions, “Driving in Italy,” in the archives of Aquila Review. (You will have to jump down the PDF to page 46).
Don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter and start your free e-Course,
“8 Simple Ways to Add Depth to Your Writing.”