Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Elements of Writing by John V. Amodeo author of "The Captain's Coin"
“Give us the tools, we will finish the job.” These words, spoken by Winston Churchill to FDR at the beginning of the Blitz, say so much. Concise, to the point and without much-needed explanation, the message comes through loud and clear. Churchill needed the nuts-and-bolts of war materiel to fight the Nazis and secure victory. Simply put, FDR convinced the Congress to save democracy by getting the ‘tools’ to Britain to get the job done. The tools did their job!
So it is with writing. Churchill’s plea to Franklin D. Roosevelt can be used in any writing forum. The tools of good writing, like the war materiel needed by the Brits to fight off the ongoing attacks from the Nazis, can indeed finish a job. What constitutes a good writing style?
An author intent on telling a story has to apply his tools carefully and plan his strategy to indeed ‘finish the job.’ As a historian, I prefer to tell a story. A narrative that is at once precise with a general theme. In ‘The Captain’s Coin,’ a fictional history of an Irish immigrant coming ashore in antebellum New York in 1848, the reader at once feels the city come alive. The main character, a frightened 13 year-old is alone without family or friend in the new surroundings. Yet, he impressed his ship’s captain with his determination to succeed, resulting in a letter of recommendation to the leading NY linen company. With letter in hand, Michael Brady’s fate is sealed—introduced to the hectic and demanding job of supplying the New York elite with fine silks and linens, he rises up the corporate ladder, become a Civil War hero and returns home to run for NYS Assembly.
Keeping a general theme—in this case, a poor immigrant who achieves the American dream with his willingness to stay the course, the reader will travel back to a New York rife with political corruption, graft and an ever-changing populace. Brady’s journey becomes a life-altering and historic trip of a city facing industrialization and the poverty experienced by its newcomers.
Using specific historical reference with a colorful vocabulary rich in the vernacular gives the reader a portrait of the great city. The cultivation of good, narrative writing in describing the gangs, social network services and the exploitation of underclass allows the reader to appreciate the struggles of the immigrants, such as Brady.
A good writer, I feel, should use a rich vocabulary and not overuse adjectives. Short, concise sentences that use few words yet bring home the point. Like Churchill’s words to FDR, it should communicate with an economy of language. Message delivered. Coherent with few dependent clauses and a general theme throughout, as in on ‘The Captain’s Coin.’
A page-turner. A book that conveys a concrete and specific theme. With such a goal in mind, I believe the reader will come away with a pleasurable experience, asking: “What is his next book about?”
The Amazon Kindle link for “The Captain’s Coin” : http://www.amazon.com/The-Captains-Coin-ebook/dp/B006XZA600/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1339590842&sr=1-1
Born in Troy, New York, John V. Amodeo now lives in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan. For three decades, Amodeo worked for the NYC public schools as assistant principal and History Department chairman. Now retired, he is an adjunct professor of American history and political science at Mercy College's Manhattan campus. Amodeo also exercises his love of New York City as tour-guide. His previous books include: 'Voices of Hell's Kitchen,' a fictional account of the myriad personalities of his unique neighborhood. In addition, he wrote--'Believe--Journey from Jacksonville,' a biography of former world heavyweight champion, Ken Norton and 'Blessed or Cursed,' a biography of current WBF light-heavyweight champion, Rayco Saunders. Currently, he is working on his next project, a biography of Paul Vaden, former world light-middleweight boxing champion in upcoming 'Answer the Bell.'
Posted by Helping Hands Press at 5:39 AM