On Good Writing

To write well, you have to… you’ve got it…  write!  After all, practice makes pefect.  The rules have let up a lot over the years, and now, in the 21st century, anything pretty much goes.  Do you think “Room” by Emma Donoghue (narrated by 5 year old Jack) has good syntax and grammar?  Nope.  It reads as if it was written by a 5 year old, as it should.  That was the point.  Donoghue could have told the story in third person, or even from the point of view of his mother, but I don’t think the story would have been as good.  We needed the story in Jack’s voice.

I know my writing is far from perfect.  Sometimes it reads smoothly, and sometimes it is just awkward.  But that’s all right.  Here, I am blogging, typing away as fast as I can.  Sometimes I don’t even look over it before I publish.  Most of the time I don’t even think about it.  I should think about it, but I don’t.  I am rushing, tumbling head over heels toward the next post.  I get ahead of myself.  Luckily I know how to spell.  Luckily, I know about punctuation.  Sometimes I get my past tense and present tense mixed up.  It’s still a learning process.  I think it will always be a learning process.  Did you know that in stories you can have dead narrators?  I did not, until I read “The Lovely Bones”.  I want to do that – I want to think outside the box.

Do you think that everything can be written has been written?  Maybe that is true in some ways, but we all have individual brains and individual thoughts.  It’s okay to take something from another writer, play with it a little, poke at it, change it around, and make it our own.  For example, I love Jodi Picoult’s way of using multiple narrators.  I think if I write that way, I will not become bored with the story and stop writing it.  If it’s just one narrator, you get only one side of the story and you’re limited in what you can do. But with multiples, you’re giving other characters a voice too, and the possibilities are endless.  You can also resurrect characters from other authors and use them or the idea of them in your writing.  I remember watching “Lost in Austen” a couple years ago.  In it, a modern day Austen fan ends up (like Alice in Wonderland) with the Pride and Prejudice characters, lost in the book.  Wayward character.  This delighted me to no end.  I could have a blast doing this in my own writing.

With writing, there is always, always, always room for improvement.  I know I have a lot to work on.  I procrastinate a lot.  And I mean, a lot!  I am not particularly mindful of the way I construct my sentences.  I write how I think.  Sometimes in fragments.  Sometimes in long rambling sentences that don’t really say anything other than the fact that they got away from me.  I don’t always catch my typos.  Sometimes my writing is passive.  And sometimes I make factual errors, talking a wild guess and typing whatever I want.  But that is the beauty of fiction.  Anything goes!

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