On Trying too Hard


Sometimes with all this study of writing craft, we get too darned self-conscious of it for our own good -- and the story's. Here's something brilliant C.S. Lewis had to say on the subject:

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.


So here's to the not noticing. As you write today, try not to get too caught up in the "art" of it. Save that for the critics -- or at least the editing phase. Just get the dog-gone story on the page. Otherwise you're risking some serious verbal constipation.

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
Ahhh... The good ole' days. When I first started to write verbal diarrhea's exactly what I did. The ideas came faster than I could type. The excitement. The fun.

But then I had to take the leap and show my baby to world...

I'm not sure which is more emotionally draining - critiquers or nasty retail shoppers at Christmas.
FerfeLaBat said…
I answered this one over on Colonics for fun ;-)

http://www.ferfelabat.com/?p=561
Oh, fun, Ferfelabat!

But I'm not suggesting that we toss out all the good stuff. Just don't let ourselves get so wound up in it that the words never actually make it to the screen. I see a lot of promising writers start from scratch after ever single workshop because some expert intimidates them (not intentionally, usually) into the certainty that everything they've done is wrong. Sort of sucks the joy out of the process. And writing, IMHO, should be about joy first.

But I welcome dissent.
FerfeLaBat said…
Selah March blogged it.

I have heard this advice before. It's usually given to get aspiring authors past the block. That's fine if they can (as most of us do) put the first book or two in a box never to be seen again. Practice. Practice. Practice. It depends a LOT on the writer. Every time I have tried it I ended up shredding it all and starting over. I've had several authors tell me that it's the the best way to keep the ideas flowing and the discipline of writing to a deadline. Me? I just pack up the laptop and me and the miata hit the beach for a change of writing location when I get stuck.
Lark said…
Ah, the fine balance between craft awareness and telling the story. Does it all become second nature at some point? Please tell me it does.

Colleen, you contributed to my latest epiphany. After reading your article in the RWR this month, I'm been re-evaulating my WIP to incorporate more/worse hardships/disasters for my characters. (Great article, BTW.)I don't mind working harder, if the end result is better which now I think it will be. But I do sometimes look back wistfully to the first draft of the first manuscript when writing was just fun (though the result was very bad).

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