Monday, November 17, 2008

Perspective - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Over time, I've heard the same thing from writing friends, mentors, editors and agents: keep at it, hone your craft, write the next novel. But I've never realized until now one of the most important lessons to be taken from that suggestion; perspective is a really good thing, especially for a writer.

Take for instance this scenario. This morning, I'm going through my old Zip disks stack (this was before the revolutionary intro of the flash drive) and I found some of my old stories that I'd toyed with when I was younger and much more clueless about writing and reader expectations of a good story. One was set in Ireland, rousing scene of a Scandinavian raid on an Irish coastal village - or so it was meant to be. In the near twenty years of stories fluttering around in my head, if there's one thing I can do pretty well, it's recognize crap writing when I see it. Especially when I am the writer of the aforementioned crap! And this Irish story was awful - barely any character development, no real plot, riddled with passive voice, and worst of all, I hadn't done my research on the setting and it's history. Otherwise I might have know that the particular little Irish village I chose was never raided by Scandinavians.

Gaining perspective and looking back on your previous work can be so helpful to any writer, especially when you can see what you've gained over the years as you churn out more stories. And the best thing is - the learning never has to stop.

1 comment:

Anita Davison said...

Your blog is so cute, Lisa. And you are right, there's nothing which ilustrates how far you have come and gives you confidence in the fact you can, and will get better, than re-reading an earlier work.

If you can resist deleting the cringe-making earlier version that is.....

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