Friday, January 3, 2014

Developing writing

I was talking to my husband today about my writing and he mentioned something that struck me as funny: the thing that is wrong with my fiction writing is that it doesn't have enough "me" in it. He has been a long-time confidante and reviewer of my writing, so he has read my fiction, my non-fiction, and whatever lies in between. He often claims that he's "not a writer" and therefore his opinion isn't too valuable, but I disagree. My audience, whenever I get one, won't be made up of professional writers; it will be made up of readers, and they'll have all manner of experiences and opinions that will help them decide if they want to read my novels and it won't be based on anything more than their own (probably untrained) opinion of my writing.

I think the truth is that fiction writing isn't my strong suit. My best writing seems to be my blogging or journal writing. I'm pretty sure there's a very small market for such, and surely that market won't be lucrative in the financial way. Unless my friends and family are willing to pay for my blog-posts, I will need to learn to develop my writing in such a way that it has more of whatever it is that makes my non-fiction good.

Which hits this year's theme of development. I have so many books on developing writing style, learning dialogue, ideas for plots, character development... but the one thing I lack is a real understanding about how to actually improve those skills.

Writers often give the advice to other writers to "write what you know". Well, I know me so for now that's what I'm good at. I am wondering if this is why every single attempt at novel or short story writing goes absolutely no where - is it that I don't know enough stuff? I get all passionate to write a story around some snippet of conversation I overheard or from an idea or scene that has popped into my head, but that often fades after my first marathon writing session. I always, always thought this was writer's block. Now I am considering that maybe those stories don't include the right elements - the ones I know about.

So, I'm practicing that too. Ugh.

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