On the other hand, continuing with my last post about story being the poor cousin to other elements of fiction and beautiful prose being sort of the prince or princess among them, if I could write beautiful prose, I would. I think I can write clever prose. There are many excellent writers who write great and powerful books whose language is not extraordinary. It’s always good, mind you, but not the main way they get their power. I would say that’s true of most writers really.
I think what you have to do is figure out what you do well and make that work for you. I think what bothered me in graduate school was how many of my classmates focused on language to the neglect of story and other elements of fiction. The truth was maybe one or two could write beautiful prose (and this was in a large group of talented writers). Most just didn’t have that gift. But instead of struggling to develop what gifts they did have they got caught up on language because that was what all the teachers praised most.
I was lucky. I got more than my share of praise and attention in my MFA program. But I think sometimes teachers and others might actually slow down development. Yes, we always have to try new things as writers. Yes we have to push ourselves. But we are what we are, too. Whatever talents or skills we can use to make our writing powerful and entertaining should be used.
And with that I wish you good writing and a happy holiday. I’m taking a little blog break until after New Years.
If you’re bored and looking for some writer talk, here’s a new page on my website with blog interviews I’ve done recently on Aliens and Writing. http://www.brianyansky.comblog-tour2010.html
Finally, I thought I’d try asking if any of you have questions or topics you’d like me to write about. I’d be happy to give my two cents on any topic I’ve got two cents worth of comments to make. Leave a comment here or at any future post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if any topics or questions come to mind.
Thanks for reading,