“The Story Just Came To Me”

I wish stories just came to me. I, normally, have do some serious thinking before I can write long essays or even shorter ones. Coming up with a good idea can sometimes take me ages…

This is not always the case with the author Katherine Vaz. She described the story of her new book at the Fall 2012 Harman In-Residence. Her book is titled Below the Salt, and it follows a young man whose life surrounds the Civil War. If you want anymore of the plot, then read the book. All that I am going to say is: you won’t be disappointed, its great. 

The book didn’t start out that way though.

“I wrote for about a year, stuff that was so terrible that I threw it in a box.” We all have those moments, don’t we? I know that I may be writing an essay and decided to scrap everything that I’ve done because it sucks. But hey, it happens. Move on. Keep writing. Which is exactly what Katherine Vaz did and if she didn’t, then we wouldn’t be able to read her great work. And her work is great.

Vaz’s writing is very immersive. When she sets a scene, the setting comes to life.

“I am a big believer of going to the place and feeling it on your skin … And that’s important.” First, she goes to the setting of the book and experiences the setting. She feels it on her skin. But then—and here’s where the magic happens—she writes about it, and the reader can feel it on his/her skin. Many writers strive for that skill and few succeed, Katherine Vaz being one of them.

She is an extraordinary writer and an interesting speaker; Vaz has forever influenced my writing.

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