A couple of days ago, writer/blogger Lisa Romeo gave me a "roar" (thanks, Lisa!) with a directive to do two things: list three things I think are crucial to powerful writing, and "roar" at a few of my favorite and fearless writers.
My three requirements for powerful writing:
Move the story forward. Good writing, like life, doesn't stay still. It's gotta move. Don't linger. Keep going.
Less is more. I'm a poet, so I learned early on that shorter is almost always better--punchier, sharper, more vivid. Compress, compress, compress.
Sound and fury. Powerful writing lives in the ear as well as on the page. Read it out loud to yourself. The sound of the words carries part of the meaning and effect.
Now, on to the roaring part. I'm going to tag a few bloggers, since this is, after all, a blog.
Kate Harding. Kate's blog, Shapely Prose, wins the I-wish-I'd-written-that award. Kate's prose is lucid, compelling, and as much fun to read as it is to write. She's a fat activist, feminista, and all-around fascinating writer. Fearless? Ya mon. Go read her. You won't be sorry.
Sandy Szwarc. Sandy's blog, Junkfood Science, takes on all manner of sacred cows, from Big Pharma to Big Science and more. If you've ever read a news article that scared you--"Obesity is contagious," for instance--check it out on Sandy's site. She's blown open a lot of b.s.
Rachel over at The F Word. It's the internet age, so I don't even know Rachel's last name. But I do know that her trifecta of obsessions--food, fat, and feminism--makes for some powerful writing. We don't always agree, but I'm always interested in what Rachel has to say.
Laura Collins. The author of Eating With your Anorexic is one of the feistiest writers/activists I know. Her book, and her online parent forum, have saved many lives. She's not afraid to take on the powers that be.
Caroline Leavitt. One of the best essayists I know. And I'm not just saying that because she's got pieces in both my first and second anthologies, either. Caroline has a gift for writing personal narratives that hit home for others.
I could probably keep going. Maybe I'll do installment 2 tomorrow.