An unreal writer

I always find writing posts (ie posts on craft) pretty interesting, especially when people tell you that their way is the best way.

And I love the contradictory views.

Outlining  a novel shows discipline and saves you from endless revisisons because you won’t mess up your plot. A real writer ALWAYS outlines their work.

Outlining  a novel kills the creative process – writing organically allows room for natural character development, and the best plots develop with the character. A real writer doesn’t need to outline.

A real writer writes a perfect or near-perfect first draft

A real writer has to spend a year revising, editing, and polishing until the work is perfect.

Luckily I’m not a real writer, so none of this applies to me. I have a hazy outline in my head, and then I wing it. I jot down ideas as they come to me, and if they fit with the flow of the story, they go in, and if they don’t, they probably go in anyway and then get cut.

Being an unreal writer frees me to do things like use whatever pov or tense I feel like using, it allows me to play with style and story, it allows me to revise some bits and not others. Unreality means I can write a prologue or not (probably not because I find them boring), or reinvent mythology to suit my story.

Unreality works for me, because I’m not out to prove my Real Writer status. But that’s not to say that unreal writing is going to work for anyone. Some people do better with goals and structure, other are intimidated by the need to prove themselves on a public scale. (I think it’s pretty clear where I am).

Also, I’m pretty obnoxious. If the standard writer ‘rule’ is use third person past, and don’t use dialect, I’m all WHY? What is it about those rules that make them so damn popular? So I’ll go and do something like write a multi pov first person present novel, with one of the povs in dialect, just to see if I can make it work. Obviously, sometimes I fall (and hard), but for the most part, striving for unreality has kept me playing, kept me giving my writing the middle finger.

And if I lost my sense of fuck you, I’d probably be well on my way to becoming a Real Writer.


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