“Safety is a crime writers should never commit unless they are after tenure or praise.” ~Pat Conroy~
“What makes a good story?”
This is the question I often ask myself as I read some of the stuff I write. Sometimes I am pleased. Other times I want to destroy all traces of my writing in a massive explosion. But what I think is bad or unworthy to be read, is good to others. Sometimes, the story I tell might not make sense to some, but be clear as a bell to someone else. Basically, I’m saying,
Not Everything Is For Everybody
I am learning as an author, that although I want everyone to like and understand my stories, not everyone will. And though the content of my story may appeal to one audience, it may not appeal to another. Not everything I write interprets the same for everyone.
I can’t help but want to please people with my writing. But that’s an impossibility, especially if I want to tell my story my way. And my way won’t always have fluffy bunnies and rainbows. You are more likely to find a shotgun than a bunny, which not everyone will read. Unless the shot gun is taking out said fluffy character… But I won’t steer too far from topic.
I have a gift
I’m not being arrogant by saying I’m a good writer, I’m just saying I know my strengths. And I know that gift will be diluted if I try to tell my story the way someone else wants it. Yeah, I’ve been told how to write my stories and how to express my characters, but I won’t take the advice unless I feel it can make my story stronger, more ALIVE.
And besides, I feel like all those who have so much advice to give about my work should write, take the story, and spin it in every direction that makes that story theirs. I encourage it!
Awesome Writing Isn’t Safe, Its Awesome
There are so many stories out there with many of the same plots: human (or being) vs. human, human vs. nature, human vs. him(her)self. But it is how these stories are told that grab our attention. For some they want to read about dragons and damsels. Some want to read plots with a detective and crime scene. While others might want a backwoods family that’s struggling.
No matter the setting or situation, the concept is basically the same: there will be conflict, there will be resolution. And depending on how many books you read in your lifetime, if you read enough, many times you will find yourself reading some stories twice, though by different authors.
But its how the story is told that grabs us: new scenery, new characters, new plot twists. How the story is portrayed is what makes it real to us, drags us in, and holds us captive until the end … and sometimes beyond!
So why as an author would I want to write like someone else?
Easy answer: I DON’T! True creativity comes from imagination, not imitation. Mind you, I might write similar topics, and my style might seem like someone else you have read, but how can one not live in this world and not be influenced by it. However, no matter the influence, what I write is all me and I LOVE BEING ME.
Authors: Don’t Apologize For Telling Your Story
If my and/or any author’s work seems a little risky, unexpected, or even uncharacteristic of what you think should be written: all I and/or we can do is apologize that you feel that way. But NEVER APOLOGIZE for what is in your heart and the story that binds it. Write what you feel, what you dream, no matter how safe or unsafe it is.