Writing that ‘could be better’

Of all the lessons about writing fiction this could be the most disheartening.

People debate all the time: why are are adverbs so bad, do you always have to show rather than tell? And so forth.

Now many of the rules of writing have multiple rationales and purposes, much like good fiction writing itself the rules often communicate layers of meaning. One purpose of many said rules is to drive a persons writing to be better.

That probably sounded a little redundant or obvious but hear me out.

Writing is an incredibly competitive process within itself. Even if your work is free of tropes, cliches, errors and the dreaded plot hole, sometimes it still doesn’t fly. Not to paint all indie and self-published authors with the same brush, but I come across a particular problem often with self-published titles where the writing falls flat and I can’t explain it,

Well no more (I mean I think I can explain it, not that authors are getting better)

Every word in a work of fiction has a purpose, either to describe the setting, character, action and so on. Portraying any of these things isn’t necessarily that difficult, but portraying them well is much harder. (P.S. by portraying well I mean words that vibrantly bring the story to life in a reader’s imagination, maximizing the emotional journey and joining the whole story together is a satisfying and seamless way).

The television equivalent would be a show or whatever that had technically good content but didn’t edit or use cinematography well, having boring shots and awkward edits.

I guess the point of my rant is that many ‘rules’ like to avoid adverbs, or to ‘show don’t tell’ aren’t prohibitions but rather guidance towards better writing. I don’t think that readers have a voice in the back of their head telling them a work could be better (well they kind of do) but in terms of really capturing a reader and creating a vivid world you want all the purposes of your words to be efficient and potent as possible.

Just a quick thought/rant that sprang to mind when I got up this morning!

What are your thoughts on the matter? Am I off the mark, on the mark? Who is this poor mark anyway?


3 thoughts on “Writing that ‘could be better’

  1. An interesting read, but I think you drifted off towards the end there.

    I presume you mean that the previously-inexplicable falling flat was due to not making every word count? As in, there aren’t basic spelling/grammar errors, the plot/setting/characters are sufficiently interesting, but it just feels lacking in something?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2 writing ‘rules’ that peeps keep getting wrong | Lonely Power Poles

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