I jokingly told someone recently that the purpose of any advice/discussion about writing on this blog was actually intended to mislead other people to thin out the competition.
Now not that I’m far too good or ethical to do such a thing it just seems like a lot more effort that I’m willing to expunge, and I might need a few more followers to actually effect a change.
It lead to an interesting discussion about how maybe there is a grander conspiracy at large among established writers to keep the new talent at bay. Maybe adverbs are quite good, maybe telling is better than showing, MAYBE people want stories with unrelatable character and lots of info-dumps.
Anyway I don’t think that such a conspiracy is in effect. But again on another tangent it did lead me to think about a sort of natural selection in creative writing advice which may be a barrier to aspiring writers: First bear in mind that advice is driven by the free market, whether it be blog views, books sold or whatever anyone who peddles writing advice isn’t rewarded by how much their advice leads to success but by the consumption of said advice.
Suffice to say that topics and advice which is more enjoyable to absorb becomes more popular and gets peddled more often. Thusly, we end up with post after post and book after book about things like characters, plots, tension and world-building.
Now that’s an unfair representation, as I’m consumed a fair few ‘on-writing’ books over the years and learnt heaps about all manner of aspects of fiction, but I do notice that across the blogosphere and the ‘chatter’ most discussions are about characters and plots with a fair dose of fantasy lore. What’s so wrong with this? Well nothing exactly, but in my opinion most people are quite capable of penning good characters and plots, and pretty good at designing a world. What I think most people struggle with is crafting a good scene with style and power within their prose.
Of course all of the above are important for a good story, and it’s pretty understandable that so much is devoted to this sort of content, I mean, even saying all this I don’t want to read that much about scene building and prose. But I think it can be misleading at times to see so much discussion about the content of a story with comparatively little on style. As I mentioned above I think this is a sort of natural selection, where these are the topics which are fun to talk about so it makes sense they’re everywhere, its just also important to keep an objective eye for what you really work on in your own projects.
What are your favourite topics in writing discussions?
Do you think the material available out there is misleading?