Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Just Write!


Just write! Posted by Picasa

Writing Fiction: Breaking the Rules:
"What we really have is techniques, developed by trial and error (especially error). They work for most of us, the way recipes work for most cooks. When you don't want to create an inedible mess, you stick with the recipe. When you're more confident and feel experimental, you can throw in more or less than a teaspoon of salt. (A cookbook I saw recently recommends a 'glug' of olive oil for most of its recipes.) The result may be yet another inedible mess, or a wonderful improvement.

Learning almost any technique is really hard as long as you're keeping it in your conscious mind. Remember learning how to drive? If you still had to concentrate that hard every time you took the wheel, you'd sell your car. When I started learning a little Korean, deciphering hangul was physically exhausting. (I gained new sympathy for anyone with reading problems!) Time and practice have made it easier to recognize a sound or word at once, because it now goes on subconsciously.

The same is true with writing fiction. After a while you stop worrying about POV or narrative voice or the quality of the dialogue. Your subconscious writer is looking after the technical stuff, and your job becomes something like a stenographer's. You take down what's given to you, and sometimes you catch an error, but that's about it. When you stop thinking about technique, you've mastered it."
Crawford Kilian, a writing teacher, has a great blog going here called "Writing Fiction." I love his answer to the age-old question of writing rules .. obey them slavishly or ignore them to your detriment? What he says makes sense to me especially since it's the direction in which I see myself going. After writing steadily for a while, and spending an inordinate amount of time worrying over every punctuation mark, syllable, word, paragraph, and so on, I find myself just writing these days. Which is how I think it's meant to be.