Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Sometimes It's Better To Write What You Feel, Than What You Know"

I'm fascinated by weblogs. Each is unique in its own way.

While many blogs exist to spread and discuss information (such as news, movies, books, hobbies), they are also means of personal expression. And of course, many fiction-writers now have weblogs.

One thing strikes me when reading the weblogs of people who write, or aspire to write: sometimes, their weblog writing is MORE expressive, more emotional, than their fiction (short stories, excerpts from novels).

They seem to have more to say - and find it much easier to express it - in their weblogs, than in the fiction they write.

Most aspiring writers look to an established writer as their "ideal" to follow, and try (often very hard) to emulate or imitate their favorite successful author.
They may focus intensely on style, or detail... and yet, something is missing in the result. I read a piece of this fiction, and my gut reaction is:

"This writer is holding back. His weblog is full of feeling and soul, he has things to say... but when I read his fiction, it's like he's not really expressing himself. Something was in the weblog, but not in the fiction."

It could be that weblogs ARE a superior medium for self-expression: fiction is too rule-bound for most people who wish to put their thoughts into text. (In that case, the Death of the Novel might be at hand... mua ha-haa!)

Or, the writer tries too hard to emulate others, instead of "emulating himself." (OK, clumsy term, but you get the point.) The "ideal" becomes an obstacle to self-expression.

The only solution is to break free of the model, the ideal. If you want your stories to sing, you have to listen to what's inside you. It's a Zen thing.

Sometimes it's better to write what you feel, than what you know.

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