It hasn’t been for very long in the grand scheme of things, but one of my hobbies is to read through insightful writing blogs. It’s a lot like following a tech blog, really. It’s my opportunity to find out about trends and to see the new things in the writing world… but I’m not so sure it’s all a good idea
In a nutshell, the blogs themselves are focused on fine tuning elements of writing to appeal to the right audience. That sounds great, but it’s a lot like codifying a skill. Skills are just raw talent applied to experience. Translating a skill into knowledge by writing instructions on it is strange, though. It’s very easy to write instructions but you tend to focus on those instructions yourself, which throws off the balance of skill.
Think of a great baseball swing. The way you hold the bat is a large part of having a great swing, but a heavy hitter who writes a 12 step instruction on holding the bat can lose the actual element of skill that made him a heavy hitter. The next time he swings he may try to prove that the 12 steps are so important and simply abandon the rest of what makes up his skill.
To put this much shorter and more familiar, there’s a reason we say that those who can’t do, teach. So this is not a new thought, just a lost explanation.
Back to writing, I think that the skill element in literature is more obscure. See, I’m not talking about people who write in great prose. The skill element for writers is their imagination! Who out there actually writes so that they can perfect their next Gilligan Cut between pages? The reason people write is to reach into a fictitious world, that seams just as real to them, and widen everyone else’s the window into it.
So to tie this all back to writing blogs, the more I read them to “perfect” a craft, the less I let my imagination flow. I’ve spent months wondering if the opening diatribe in Fearsome Devils was pleasing or if the ending comes across as too far out in left field to be clever. In this time, my imagination has been on stand still.
I didn’t write the book to make memorable dialog or spin out a fun quote! I wrote the book because the RPG setting for Woods of Edir feels so rich and wonderful in my head, that I wanted to give players a look into how the Sage tree changed their society. I wanted to explore the dynamic between the human-like Children and their struggle with the Fearsome Devils. I wanted to explore what drives their Free Will in a world where their responsibility for balance is a matter of survival!
So even though I find myself returning to read about writing tips time and time again, I know that my imagination flows so much better when knowledge of craft sits in the background, and the craft itself blazes new pathways. So I suppose I’ll close with this. Read less opinion and write more fantastic stories!
[sarcasm]…except for this opinion. Clearly mine are totally worth reading.[/sarcasm]