Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Learning To Write

Its always tough when you have to come to a conclusion that you are not very good at something that you thought you were. For me, it’s writing. The trouble is, a lot of well meaning people complimented my writing abilities during my school days. That gave me the idea that I could write well. May be I actually could, once upon a time.

Writing is like talking. Its hard to do. To paraphrase Gutman, “... Talking's something you can't do judiciously, unless you keep in practice…”. That goes double for writing, as you have to write and read to keep in practice.

And I’ve been trying to keep in practice. It hasn’t been easy. There is always a tension as two opposing tendencies- purple prose and clean simplicity vie for supremacy. You then get a horrible hodgepodge of tortured prose that doesn’t stand up to the lightest scrutiny.

Made a few attempts to write fan fiction. Yes, I know. I’m not sure if I should be ashamed, though. It was Dragon Age based, and was neither suee-ey nor slashy.  Obsessive RPG playing can do that to you sometimes, and some of the fan fic that gets generated can be quite good.

And, isn’t fan fiction just a toolkit – a kind of write by numbers activity where you can work with readily available characters, plots and settings?

Some kinds of writing are easier than others. The catch seems to be identifying what kind of writing is easy for you, and whether you want to do that kind of writing. I want to write opinion pieces. I want to write cogent arguments about the importance of certain values and attitudes. There are things I want to say, but the trouble is I don’t have a clue what they are and how I should say them.

Pretty f*cked up, isn’t it?

The only consolation is that writing can be a craft as well as art. And the good thing about craft is that a certain degree of proficiency is possible by practice.

OK. Whinge over

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