Develop a Thick Hide and a Deer


I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee

Her advice is spot-on. I am still working on developing this hide as I develop my novel.

The problem with us writers is that we get too attached to our own words. We know what we want to say and sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we are getting our message across when we aren’t.

I went to a writer’s conference a few years. I was able to spend two days with a group of writers who were all working on young adult novels. Before the conference, we were able to email each other a section of our manuscripts. Our teacher was a published author who was an enormous help to me. This is her website if you are interested:

Anyway, the advice I received was very good. It made me rethink some things. I’m still working on distinguishing my two main characters more. That was the biggest piece of feedback I received – that my two characters were too much alike. The thing is I want to show, in the end, that they ARE very much alike deep down inside. But, I clearly have more work to do in giving them very definite personalities. And I’ve had to go back and add to the beginning of my story.

I’ve loved ABC books and A-Z lists for quite a while. This post is one in a series on writing, with the subtopic of poetry. For my poetry focus I’m including a Deer Sestina I wrote a while back. A sestina is a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.

The Deer

Mist above the meadow in the spring

Breaks open to reveal a deer

Where green grasses grow

Bending in the breeze so soft

Sweet clover scents the air

The morning stirs with life

Streams of water giving life

Slaking thirst in the spring

Pond rippled by the air

Beckons “come and drink” to the deer

And she comes to lap softly

As the fawn within her grows

A morsel of warmth in the air

Wildflowers blue and purple grow

Yellow and orange petals soft

Among them the honeybee lives

Busily flitting all the spring

Working to make honey so dear

Sun rises in the still morning air

Warming earth, unfurling leaves to grow

In the shaded forest rests the deer

Quiet and still now her life

Noonday resting in the spring

All nature resting in the soft

Butterfly with its wing so soft

Slightly stirring the afternoon air

All the colors of the spring

From a caterpillar did grow

A wonderful plan of life

Beckons “come and play” to the deer

In the cool of the evening comes the deer

Quiet feet treading softly

Full of refinement and life

She stops; sniffs the air

Feeds on the rich grasses growing

In the meadow in the spring

Exploring in the spring goes the deer

Her fawn inside grows, her heart is soft

Love in the air awaits new life

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