I admit fully that I find the world of critiques and editing/editors lacking in creativity And out-of-the-box thinking. In a big way. I’ve only been seriously focused on writing for maybe a year, but I come from a songwriting background. And while songwriters will collaborate with others or have mentors to help them hone their work, songwriting doesn’t suffer from the shocking rigidity of novel and book writing. Everyone seems to be just dying to dig their meat hooks into everyone else’s work and insist on a resolute definition of “quality”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people make comments on whether or not another person is even worthy to call themselves a “writer” based on some obscure rule that apparently “every (so privileged) writer” knows about. I have seen few critiques that didn’t appear to me to be a simple effort on the behalf of the critiquer to sound smart and make themselves feel better than the writer.
Songwriting is not like this at all. Songwriting is creative just like story-writing is creative. But You wouldn’t tell someone their chord progression is “wrong” or that their lyrics don’t make sense. Hell, lyrics with multiple interpretations is the whole point! The listener decides what the song is about. So I really get blown away by all the “right”‘s and “wrong”‘s thrown around in writing groups and tutorials. Since when did any famous author follow the rules? Shakespeare pretty much breathed purple prose. There’s little agreement on what any given poem of Emily Dickinson’s is meant to express. Who cares if your story is perfectly clearly written for every person who reads it? If we’re talking about marketing materials or technical subjects, yes, ok, edit away. But story writing is CREATIVE. It’s art. Fuck the rules. You create what inspires you and you find other people who appreciate it. For some of us that will only be 5 people, for others it will be 5 million.
So “tell” until your face turns blue if you want. Write the way you talk. Use adverbs, kill your audience with purple prose, hell, throw semicolons in random places if it feels right. There is way too much effort by the supposed “experts” to make sure everyone is storytelling the way they want it to be done. Do it your own way. Do it the “novice” way of that’s what people think. Otherwise, this shit’s gonna get boring really fast. And I’m really tired of boring.