There appears to be a common view among writers and readers that it is more difficult to write fiction than it is to write nonfiction . I would suggest that this has come about because of the appallingly poor standards that seem to pervade nonfiction as compared to fiction though there is a lot of mediocre fiction out there.
Learners are often ill served by textbooks which often display a high level of opacity, designed to show off the author’s erudition and can be less than ideal as a learning resource often requiring a study guide for the learner to use as a map to gleen the gems of wisdom.
Fiction, on the other hand, is there to entertain and captivate the reader and transport them to other worlds. The reader is there usually through choice and will quickly abandon any writer who does not deliver on a cohesive fictive vision.
We need to show those experts that they are not the only source of information and that they’d do well to look at the model of storytelling as a paradigm for communication. We need to put all writing on the same footing and judge them by the same standards.
Some of the world’s most effective nonfiction have embraced the form of story. The holy books. The books of satire. The books of social comment. The books of philosophy, of mind, of spirit…
There is so much advice out there on how to approach writing. I’ve read over a hundred books about writing and there is occasionally some commonality in these books. However, it is the multitude of differing advice and approaches can be very confusing and less than helpful.
So much categorical advice.
It’s the only way to do it type of advice, that makes you feel so inadequate, because in spite of the big name attached to the advice it does not ring true to you.
So much conflicting advice.
Do an outline. Let it develop organically. Build a world first. Start with character. Story in king. And on and on and on.
The only really consistent advice I have found harps back to what I said last time. If you want to write then the key, central, essential thing you must do is WRITE.
It can appear at times that every soul and their pet is aspiring to be a writer or more accurately to be published writer. Some just enjoy writing and the real pleasure derives from the process of writing and occasionally the product, the story, or letter, or essay, or whatever turns out to be good in its own right.
It is imperative that if you aspire to write then you’ve got to write. Write so that you enjoy it. It’s not sufficient to have to want to have written, you’ve got to do the writing, every day if you can, even if just for five or ten minutes at a time. This is one of the few places in life where consistency is of value.
It’s taken me a long time to accept that position. I’ve read Mastery: The Keys to Long-Term Success and Fulfilment by George Burr Leonard twice now and it took that second reading for the ideas to sink in. Loving and honouring the process is all that really matters in any pursuit. The ability to make money from your pursuit just allows you to spend more, or better quality time following that pursuit, the money is a means it’s the writing that’s the never ending journey.
Hello, and welcome to the WRITING IN SCOTLAND weblog and soon to be podcast (Play On Demand CAST) that will look at all things writerly in Scotland. This will include readings, reviews, techniques, events, writer group news, contests, publishing news, etc.