Ignorance IS bliss

September 28, 2008 by in category Archives with 1 and 0
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By Laura Drake

Many writers I know began writing at an early age. They’ll tell you about a story they wrote about their dog in the third grade. I’m not one of them. I came into writing “butt first”(as I’ve found I do a lot of things in life.) I’ve always been an avid reader, but have only begun writing in the last few years. It’s given me a different perspective on the whole experience.

When I started writing my first novel (no short story practice for me, I jumped into the deep end – something else I’m known for) I’d never read a book on craft – plot, characterization, POV, or any of the millions of details you need to know. Funny though – because I’ve read so much, I knew a lot of this inherently, but didn’t know that I knew it. I was following rules that I wasn’t even aware of, because I know what works in a good story, and what doesn’t.

My method has been a negative in several ways:

Trust me – the “blind squirrel finds an acorn” is not the fastest way to write a novel. I started on page one with only a vague idea of where I was headed with the plot. Working my way through was like being in a pipe clogged with mud…I’d move forward a bit, then have to wait for everything to settle before I could move again.

And don’t even get me started on editing! Luckily I’m a good speller, but I could only edit with the rules I knew; I kept discovering new ones as I went along, and would have to start over – like fifteen times! Can you imagine, not knowing rules for POV? What “telling” is? Passive voice? Looking back, I laugh (as I’m sure I’ll laugh at my current writing in a few years.)

But this perspective has also been good in several ways:

I was too ignorant to be afraid.
I also didn’t know how long the road I’d started on was going to be.
Or how much editing lie ahead.
How many rejections
Since I didn’t know how to go about writing a novel, I had no expectations…of my writing or myself.

I guess ignorance can be bliss, because I have never felt so fulfilled or proud as when I typed the last word.

Author Details
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A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

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    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
  • Anonymous says:

    You and I have a lot in common. I almost wish I could go back and forget some of the things I’ve learned about writing. Some of it has helped but I found myself bogged down in the “have to’s” and “mustn’t do’s” and it paralized me for a time. I’ve swept the desk of my mind clear (although I know the knowledge is lerking back there somewhere) and made myself move forward. I found the joy I felt when I first started writing and am excited to sit down and just do it.

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