The break boundaries guys

Your tone will come naturally, don’t strive for it. You will find your voice once you have mastered handling all the ingredients and spices good writing requires. Until then write and learn.

Once every few weeks a certain chef prototype appears on BBC2’s “Masterchef”: fancy haircut, designer glasses, likes to talk about his love for an exotic cuisine that you’ve never heard of. Everything about his appearance screams: “I am highly creative, I am special!”

Each of these guys will use the phrase “break boundaries”. They want to reinvent and mix established cuisines and present exciting, new food. Recently one of them brought his own plate to the show. A regular one wouldn’t do his art of presentation justice.

Unfortunately for them the break boundaries guys have to cook. All of them fail, each for the same reason: Their ideas might be valid, but they lack the basics and the craft in order to execute them properly.

Learn to fly first, then reach for the sky.

Maybe one day BBC2 will come up with “Masterauthor”. My dear author would make a terrific candidate. Breaking boundaries and sparkling creativity is what he is all about, and he is one of the many young authors out there who can’t write, but thinks he has found his tone already.

Frequently he reads out parts of his work, then asks: “Sounds well, doesn’t it?” “Maybe, but I have no idea what you mean”, would be one of my usual answers.

Clarity is the basic concept he struggles with most, he just can’t come to the point. Instead he will disguise it in a bunch of big words and suspect that I try to kill his voice when I erase them. When others don’t understand he still feels that his deep thoughts may be too sophisticated for mere readers.

Candidly I am happy the author has written a million words first and only then asked for professional help. We can use these first million in order to learn about basic ingredients and spices. His voice he may find during the second million. I only hope that BBC2 doesn’t call too early.

 

 

Advertisements

The stumbling block

Writing having to be “fluent” is a common misconception. We don’t want our words to flow down our reader, we want them to stick with him. Writers make cuts, writers use rhetorical figures like the oxymoron to have the reader sit up and notice. Good writing requires the occasional stumbling block.

“But what about the flow?”, you might ask.

I’m not about to reject the flow as a relevant concept. It’s abstract and hard to pin down, but it needs to be there – for the most parts. Breaking the flow from time to time is not a bad thing.

Good writing needs rhythm, flow and a tone. It requires clarity and consistency. If you catch someone pondering about writing being “fluent” or not, there’s a good chance he is just drifting, desperately looking for a block to stumble upon.