Sunday, March 9, 2014

Adventures in Fiction Writing Part Three: Delusions of Grandeur, or How to Get Over Yourself

You're not writing the next Great American Novel.

There. You're welcome.
What? Oh stop your crying. That wasn't an insult.

You really ought to thank me, because now you're off the hook. You don't have to be brilliant. All you have to do is write your story. Your story might very well become the next Great American Novel. But it won't if that's what you're actively trying to produce. So relax. Breathe. And keep working.

If you're like me, you go through a stage during the revision process when you obsess over the meaning and importance of your novel. You forget about the important things (character and plot and flow) and focus instead on fluff and nonsense (subtext and universality).

You ask yourself questions like: Does my protaganist speak in intergenerational truths?

Gag me. Intergenerational truths? What the hell does that mean? Here's a truth:

It doesn't matter how smart your book is if it's boring.

There. Someone had to say it. Because unless you're writing a textbook on landscape architecture (and maybe not even then), no one who opens your novel will stick with the story all the way to the end unless they're entertained. That's your job. You, the writer, are here to entertain the reader. Not to educate or enlighten them.

So try having fun with it, won't ya?


  1. Thank you very much. This is the kind of thing I need to hear to get over my writer's block. I get too hung up on the acceptability of my first draft.

    1. I'm glad I could help! And I soooo know what you're saying. We all do it. :)