Even while I was in high school, I really into making breakfast. My great culinary achievement was an omelet with three eggs and two slices of American cheese. I marvelled at my ability to flip it perfectly and watch the cheese ooze out.
There days, with my KitchenAid stand mixer and attachments, I make fresh pasta and homemade chicken sausage. And, of course, breads and muffins.
I distinctly recall my first cocktail. It was a rum and Coke. I was far too uninitiated to call it a Cuba Libre.
Whereas in more recent times, I have enjoyed making craft cocktails. I will squeeze fresh limes and lemons, make a simple syrup, and opt for the best liquors, often taking longer than the requisite minute of pouring a mixer into some booze.
Writers often talk about “craft” and the importance in their various ventures. There are countless bookings on writing and it is terribly easy to find a seminar of conference just about anywhere you might live. This is because “craft” is essential. The process has a greater deal of meaning. I know several writers who seem to become violently ill at the thought of the editing portion of that process.
My last release, From Somewhere in a Dream, the final installment in the Ark City Confidential Chronicles historical crime fiction series, involved at least five drafts and six rounds of edits with my editor. I may be off on this number; I lost count. But I can safely say there is a far more polished feel to this book than just about anything else I have ever written.
So, is that it? Have I reached the “place where I want to be?” Not exactly. Craft, for a writer, is an ongoing ever-developing process. The formulation of an idea into a story. The research. The fleshing out of the characters (even those that are part of a series). The attention to Point of View, passive voice, or exchanging the word “something” for a more descriptive word. Certainly there are bullet points if you work with the same editor or publisher. But there are aspects that will eventually yield a seamless tale for a reader to enjoy.
We never want to bore the reader or insult their intelligence. We want their investment of time and money to be rewarded with an emotional journey. We want them to feel as though this book they are reading emerged fully formed, like Athena from the mind of Zeus.
And THIS is why we pay attention to craft.