Ignorance IS Bliss

Last night I finished reading my July writing book, called How to Write a Page Turner: Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down by Jordan Rosenfeld. It was one of those books that delivers a ton of information, way more than you could conceivably absorb in a single go (which is why, halfway through August, I was still working on July’s book).

Additionally, yesterday, in one of my writing groups, someone posted a video about why creative types tend to be their own worst critics, and one of the points the artist doing the video brought up is that the more you know about something, the more you can see what’s wrong in your own work.

Which is kind of what reading How to Write a Page Turner felt to me.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but as I’ve understood the craft of writing better, the harder it is to just write.

Fifteen years ago when I was completing my first novel drafts, I had troubles, sure, like not plotting where the story was going or not being sure how to logically get to the ending I wanted, or changing tone halfway through a draft, etc. But the actual writing was okay.

Now, sometimes, I get hung up on sentence length and whether I’m using a variety of sentence structures so the writing doesn’t feel stilted. Am I using enough imagery? Am I using too many filter words? Am I telling when I should be showing, or vice versa? Or, perhaps, I’m taking too long to get to the next plot marker, or not enough time, or…

It’s a miracle anything gets written, honestly.

I didn’t necessarily learn anything new from How to Write a Page Turner (though I did think it was a well-organized book with good information in it), but it did remind me of issues I know I have, or am at least going through with the first draft of the changeling story. Stuff like not completing the action in a single chapter (which kills forward momentum) and description (never a strong point of mine–August’s book is actually Description and Setting). Or keeping a tight enough point of view.

I felt kind of called out.

But, to go back to the video, the artist’s point was that being able to see what’s wrong in your own work is a good thing. It means you have attained enough mastery where you understand and can see how to fix things. Before you reach that point, you’re just kind of flailing in the dark.

And all the issues the book brought up that I see in the current draft–it’s all fixable. It’s all stuff I know how to fix. Heck, if I can turn poor ol’ Shards into a publishable draft, I suspect I can fix just about anything.

(Remind me, sometime, and we can talk about the process of getting Shards from what it was to what it is. It was quite an undertaking. To go back to the point about shifting tone wildly halfway through a book.)

I do wish I could…turn it all off while I’m actually writing, though. It would certainly make things easier.

Hey, squider, got any pointers for focusing on doing something without all the “are you doing this and this and this and this right?” thoughts intruding all the time?

(As an aside, Shards could probably benefit from a cover upgrade. Hm. Something to consider.)

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