How Do You Keep Your Writing Different?
Mitch Maiman- author of “Every Third Night”
The key to keep your writing “different” is being loyal and true to yourself. We are all singular individuals, and writers are no exception. We think differently, react differently, and compose our prose differently. Writing is simply transmitting the ideas that are filtered out by your brain and expressing them in flowing sentences and appropriate words. Since no two brains are alike, your fiction can only be uniquely yours, unless you violate the cardinal rule of composition and try to mimic another author’s style or live up to some biased standard that you have encountered. Just be yourself. Don’t use words that you wouldn’t use in your everyday language. Don’t invent fancy phrases that you have never heard in your entire life. And when you try to project yourself into one of your character’s mindsets, don’t deviate too far from your own paradigm. Every character must make sense to you, even if they are deviant or crazy. At times, we all are. For instance, if one of your characters is a murderer, imagine yourself as that criminal and write what you might do in a given situation. If another one is psychopath, become psychotic in your thought and transmit how your own brain interprets that pathology. Don’t let your characters become foreign to you. Intrinsically break them down through your own lens, and recite their plights in your own vernacular.
Then there is style. Develop your own style. There is no cookbook recipe, and no blueprint that must be followed. In my own experience, I found myself ending almost every chapter with a one-line paragraph, usually an open-ended but definitive statement. Something the reader can really mull over. At first, I thought that might not be wise, that it was possibly too repetitive. But since every chapter seemed to be ending that way, I realized that this mode of writing was truly my style. It was my way of connecting my subplots, and entice the reader to continue uninterrupted to embellish my novel and move rapidly on to the next chapter. It became one my signature modalities. So, I adopted it, instead of worrying about what a critic might think. If your writing keeps leading you down a certain path, do not be afraid. That is your distinction. You may try to improve upon it and fine tune its presentation, but do not abandon it. You may become well- known for that very same tendency.
Finally, the ratio between your works DIALOG among the characters versus NARRATIVE text is another key element that helps distinguish one’s literary expression. Some say that too much dialog might read like a screenplay or television series, OR, too much narrative might become boring literary fiction and drag on too long. Hogwash. Every interaction, every point in plot development might call for a different strategy, and your novel might vacillate between the two depending on particular circumstances. Dialog provides the reader with the most dramatic moments, and well-written narrative must support the plots essence. Don’t be overly aware of the blend between the two, any more than you should count the words in your book. It is the quality of your account that matters, and the realism that you can impart to your audience. Any part of the book might favor one or the other. Just write it as you feel it, and the pages will reflect your honesty.
And the clarity that results from your effort will result in great fiction.
EVERY THIRD NIGHT
“Every Third Night” is an eye-opening yet poignant story that is set in a busy, dehumanizing and unyielding New York City residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1984. It brings the reader into the real world of medicine at a time of limited supervision and brutal duty hours through the vantage points of young physicians enduring stressful conflicts and volatile relationships.
Protagonist and chief resident Jimmy Zito seemingly has it all- brilliant clinical skills, handsome, a talented teacher, and a gorgeous girlfriend to boot- but a troubled past and a rash of new conflicts leave him struggling to survive in this, his last month of training. He desperately tries to guide his fellow residents through their own personal traumas, but is not nearly as well equipped to handle the pressure as others might think, especially considering the toxic and exhaustive work schedule, unchecked aberrant behavior of attending physicians, and the highly competitive and emotional demands of Ob-Gyn.
Intern Henry Deluca grapples with the consequences of a horrific surgical complication that he feels responsible for. Co-chief resident Greta Greenberg struggles with her personal dilemma in a busy abortion clinic. Best friend Mike O’Rourke is driven to madness by an unreasonable superior’s callousness concerning a dying patient with ovarian cancer. And Kim Clark, Jimmy’s occult but obvious love interest, is at wits end after constantly being tortured by her sadistic Chairman. Jimmy’s ultra-needy girlfriend and stubborn father do not make things any easier. The intertwined subplots all mesh together and come crashing down when an unexpected, dramatic and haunting mishap leaves the program reeling and Jimmy’s life forever transformed.
Dr. Mitchell Maiman became a physician at age twenty-four and is now retired. As a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology and sub-specialist in Gynecologic Oncology, he has had a distinguished academic, clinical and research career in medicine and served as both a Director of Gynecologic Oncology and Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at major New York City based university hospitals. He has been recognized for his numerous educational contributions in the field and his devotion and commitment to the teaching of residents and fellows.
Mitch lives with his wife, Dr. Judy Levy, in Long Island, New York and is an avid tennis player and practitioner of yoga. They first met during their residency training. This is his first novel.