Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Magic Formula

When you start out writing you are inevitably looking for recognition and success. Then, when you receive rejection after rejection you ask the inevitable questions: Why? What is wrong with my writing? How do I get better?

As a consequence you stop reading books as a reader, enjoying the story for itself, and you start pulling apart the internal mechanics. How are pronouns used - How much description is enough description - How much character development is enough - How is the pacing - How is the story following the rules of the genre.

I could go on, but the basic result is a list of things to do and things not to do. It is a list that is ultimately crippling to the writer, creating creative paralysis.

The problem is there are so many people out there that will tell you how to write. It's like the formula for a successful novel can be disseminated and replicated easily. A formula that will aĺlow the churning out of book after book, all the same, all exactly what the given audience requires.

How can I say how unsatisfying this is? I can't start reading a book without seeing the man behind the curtain anymore. It takes something really amazing and unique to keep my attention, otherwise I can almost see that checklist being ticked off.

I know we all write to a formula, we kind of have to, it's called structure. But I believe it should be a formula of our own devising rather than one dictated to us as a requirement for success and recognition. Anyone can write a generic novel, only you can write your novel. That does and does not mean 'anything goes'. There still needs to be structure, order rather than chaos, but that order can be comprised of your own design. It can be everything you want it to be rather than everything someone else tells you it should be.

There is no surefire way to success. There is no magic formula, and writing a book that way will not satisfy you. The marketplace requires variety above all else. Please yourself and sometimes that will please others too. Try to please others and you may please no one, not even yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment