it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

Make me a beast half as brave.

Just because I happen to be thinking about it now.

If you know how to drive--do you remember when you were first learning how to drive, and you had your hands really tight on the steering wheel, and you kept making all these tiny corrections, and the car never seemed to be in the right place? So you were there, oversteering, and totally stressed out, and it never seemed to work well?

And then eventually you relaxed a little and realized that as long as you were paying attention and had your eyes on the road, the car just kind of magically seemed to go where you were thinking of putting it?

Writing is like that too.

Corrolary: voice and strong prose are another one of those balancing acts. One of the oversteering things that writers do is using "feel" and "see" constantly, in a misguided attempt to establish POV.

Does this mean you should *never* write "She felt a cool breeze on her neck." or "He saw it fall." ?


But you should use them when the feeling or the seeing or the hearing or the whatever are the important bit, not the cool breeze or the falling.

Narrative drive is, I think, the writer's most essential tool. If you haven't got it, you're probably getting a lot of rejections that start, "There's nothing wrong with this story--" and you're kicking walls in frustration.

What's wrong with the story at that point is that there's not enough right with it. It's not irresistible. It does not have narrative confidence. Narrative confidence is one of those things you learn when you are no longer holding onto the wheel so tight your knuckles ache.

Go work on your rhetoric. It'll come.

NB: Relax. Almost nobody actually knows how to use the subjunctive mood.

Tags: blood and rhetoric, if it were easy it wouldn't be fun, writing craft wank, writing is like everything else

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