Aug 10, 2010

Cross the First Hurdle by Leonora Pruner

Writing is very personal, both in the way it is done and the choice of words. Of course, the first hurdle to be crossed is the initial draft. This is the beginning of the physical form of what has been brewing and stewing inside one’s head. At this time what was imagined becomes concrete. But, how to go about doing this? The answer varies from writer to writer and whether this is non-fiction, fiction, a poem, an essay, an article, or something else.

In simple terms, one must take paper and pen or pencil or sit in front of a useable computer and start. At this point, form is not important – emphasize the word “DRAFT”. It is going to be changed into something fine and beautiful—later. It may be rather like a volcanic eruption, spewed out with disorganized, creative force in random bits and pieces. The key thing at this point is to make the thoughts and ideas visible either on paper or a computer screen so they can be seen and refined. It is a very rare phenomenon for words to appear in a perfect, publishable form.

At this point, spelling doesn’t matter. Skip what is not known. When I come to a place requiring a description that doesn’t immediately come to mind, or needing research, or I am doubtful, I write the missing element in capitals surrounded by parentheses. Or leave an underlined space to call attention to the fact that something must be added. It is critical to get it down so the material can be work on and shaped and refined. Refuse to allow anything to deter this writing.

Until it is in a physical form, making the words tangible, it is an ephemeral idea which may well dissipate in the blink of an eye. Or, it may hover around like an invisible, irritating, buzzing fly, then suddenly vanish. Once gone, it is very difficult to retrieve it.

When it becomes a concrete, first draft, it can be shaped, cut, added to, or modified in countless ways. Then comes the task of transforming this jumble into something beautiful, readable, and understandable, bringing joy and information to future readers. Robert Frost once commented that after a poem was written down, then the real work began.



Leonora Pruner was born in Dubuque, Iowa, but has lived most of her life in California. Writing has been an important activity since junior high. She graduated from Westmont College in 1953 and earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1981.

Fascination with a possible eighteenth-century English character led to five years of extensive research, which resulted in the 1981 and 1987 publication of two period novels. That time remains of great interest to the author, and she continues to use eighteenth-century England as a setting for her work.

Leonora married in 1953, and her family has expanded from two children to thirteen grandchildren and five great-grand-children.

She lived in the Republic of Maldives from 1987 to 1997, where she collected folklore and taught economics and computer science. While there she wrote the first drafts of this book.

Books by Leonora Pruner include Close to His Heart, Love’s Secret Storm and Love’s Silent Gift. The title of her next novel is The Aerie of the Wolf.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting Leonora share her thoughts with your readers.