Sunday, February 08, 2004

Making Light

The author of "Making Book", a brilliant brilliant thing in it's second edition that any author should read.

Didn't realize she had a blog. Quite excellent.

Writing is a cold unfeeling thing. The words don't change, no matter how much you care about them. In reducing communication to words, you must trust in your ability to mash implications down to managable size. And trust that you've done it well enough for another person to reconstruct your attempt. Without help.

This would be a daunting enough task if you didn't realize that you're also being judged against the greatest writers that the reader has ever read. Global talents, who spent their lives entire, honing. This isn't like being an engaging speaker, where your competition is at best, a few hundred people. The average literati has read prose by possibly thousands of writers, who were likely rammed through massively brutal selection processes.

Writing is intensely personal, in that there is no social process that can allow you to learn it, save perhaps for some abortive, transients, like chatting and social webpages, where you must slice your wit to single lines and paragraphs, an editing habit that can help your brevity and wit, but does nothing for pacing, cohesion, or tone. Writing has a terribly slow feedback system, with little detail, and less honesty. You have to learn by falling out of love with your own creations, and by the few rare beautiful people who can tell you what is so broken about what you're trying to say.

Editors are angels, with their cutting, dismissive ways. They're doing you a favor, don't you see!? They have stopped lying, because they can't lie about writing anymore. It's their job. Bless the editor who rejects you, and takes the time to say something about it. Anything.

You need it, your writing is awful.

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