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Concrete Writing

The writing you can do may be of two types. It can be either creative, concrete writing or non-creative, non-fictional, abstract writing.

Both these forms of writing are apt for specific situations. One form of writing good for a particular situation may not be suited for another situation.

Abstract writing is applicable in articles like the one you are reading now. When to express facts, it is good to be general and abstract. It is very easy to write in an abstract fashion and most of the time when we write, the first draft generally tends to be highly abstract.

It is when we do the rethinking, remodeling the facts that we generate ideas to make the writing more concrete.

Concrete writing is very important for the fiction. When you write the short stories or fiction content, what you do is show the readers what is happening than tell them about it. For instance:

There once lived a king, in a distant kingdom. The king had three daughters and one son. One day, the king told his son to go for a tour of his country and find the people who have grievances, and provide them solutions to their problems.

This paragraph is a perfect example of a highly abstract form of writing. Though abstract writing can be interesting in certain situations like the one described above, a fiction is never interesting if it follows an abstract fashion throughout.

When you describe, to be concrete you should form ideas and metaphors, which the readers can see and feel. For this, what you do is target the five senses of the reader. A great writer can accomplish anything through their writings.

Read some of Stephen King’s works to understand this phenomenon. He is one of the greatest exponents of concrete writing. A concrete writing example:

As the hot dry wind stroked his skin, Kumar squinted to see through the flying dust. At a distance, in the middle of huge lumps of fine sand, he could see a triangular glasslike view, bedded and well secured by the sand hills. It must be water, he thought. He swept away the beads of sweat on the forehead and tightened the waistband. With renewed energy, he trod the sand toward the mirage up ahead.

Here, what the author does is showing the reader the state of affairs. The readers get a picture of what is happening in the scene. Highly skilled writers can create paragraphs after paragraphs of well-written concrete content. Similes and metaphors can directly affect your writing, and can make it greatly concrete.

In order to be concrete, you need to think harder, make use of your brain. It takes time and effort to make your style more concrete. And the concrete writing directly affects the practicality. Concrete writers are regarded, hence, to be highly practical. They can describe the situation exactly as it would happen in real world. This definitely accounts for experienced writers’ success.

For instance, when Stephen King writes, he makes us feel, see, hear, touch, smell, and taste the situation. His expression of horror is highly original, though it is still fantasy; we feel that such things can happen. So, we tend to come back to his works time and again. The same is the case with John Grisham. Since he was himself a lawyer, it is extremely easy for him to describe situations in his legal thrillers. In these highly successful authors, the experience speaks for itself. Read more and more of highly concrete works for getting a clear idea of how you can write better. So, concrete writing is more a product of experience and skill than anything else.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

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