I barely bought my Kindle device about two months ago, and I’ve already bought about $500-$600 worth of kindle books!! This isn’t good for me. Amazon makes it so easy to buy those books… one click.
Of the 383 kindle books I have, a third is about trading stocks and so on. The other third are various fiction novels and romance novels. The last third are books that teach you how to write fiction.
I don’t need to be taught how to write. I love to compulsively write. But I strictly wrote non-fictional essays for a whole decade.
I believed I need to be taught how to write fictional stories.
Because my brain just simply hasn’t been trained to think of fictional stories and present them in fictional story format.
And so I bought all these so called “craft” books which teaches you the craft of writing fiction. Don’t worry, most were those free Kindle books that didn’t cost anything to download.
The more I read those craft books, the more frustrated I got, and the more convinced that I really did not know how to write fiction. It get’s so frustrating sometimes that I feel like giving up!
I never realized there were so many “rules” regarding the writing of fiction.
One craft book I read said that when I write fiction stories that I should refrain from using Adverbs.
So I said: “Ok… no adverbs.”
And I can understand why. Using Adverbs can be lazy or something.
For example, instead of writing out: “Jim drove his car slowly,” it would look better if I got rid of the Adverb and wrote: “Jim’s car moved along the road inch by inch.”
Another book interestingly tells me that I should not use Adjectives often.
So I said: “Ok… no adjective or adverbs; just nouns and verbs.”
And I can understand why. Using Adjectives can be lazy or something.
For example, instead of writing: “Jim’s car was blue,” it would look better if I got rid of the Adjective and wrote: “Jim’s car was the color of the sky.”
So, now I have the really cool sentence:
“Jim’s car was the color of the sky and it moved along the road inch by inch.”
But then a different book tells me to not use long sentences because readers get annoyed with long sentences.
So I said: “Ok… short propositions. I get it. No long sentences.”
So now I end up with something like this:
“Jim has a car. It is the color of the sky. It moved inch by inch.”
Oh… but those craft books about the “Show Don’t Tell” rule steps in and tells me that when I write fiction, I need to show my read stuff and not just tell, because telling is so essay-like. I gasped. It was right. I don’t want to write boring essays. I’ve done that for 10 years already!!
So I end up with something like this instead:
Jim opened the door for his wife. Their car was the color of the sky. They went onto the freeway and started driving. The other cars began to go around them. His wife looked at him and said: “Honey, can you drive a little faster?”
That was easy. I just made that Jim story right off the top of my head. Like how I do with my long boring essays for the past 10 years. In the craft, this is called “Pantsing,” which is when you just make up stuff off the top of your head.
So, all of these other craft books tells me that pantsing is very bad and that you should Outline and pre-plan your story instead!
And so I try to outline and pre-plan my story. And I have something like this:
- [Jim & wife gets in car]
- [Car moves inch by inch to destination]
- [wife complains]
- [Jim drives faster]
- [Jim gets lost in South Central LA]
- [His wife tells him to ask somebody for directions]
- [Jim argues with his wife saying he knows where he’s going like a typical man]
- [Jim get’s more lost. Ends up in the ghetto]
- [Jim and wife get robbed]
I can do the outlining… it will just take a lot of time to train my brain to do things that way.
But you know what the frustrating part of all this is?
It’s turning the god damned outline into an actual story of several thousands of words long and making that story Devoid of any Adverbs, Adjectives, Telling! And I can only use simple short sentences!
Oh… yeah… the other books, the ones by those editors who teach proper Grammar!!! Look at this shit:
What the fuck?
Paradigmatic? Syntagmatic? Vertical axis? Horizontal axis? Coordinated? Subordinated?
It’s like doing Calculous now all of a sudden!
So now I’m thinking to myself: “Wow… I don’t know shit about writing fiction. No adverbs, no adjectives, no telling, pay attention to my subordinate clauses, make sure I use the proper subjunctive moods, make my syntagmatic horizontal axis effectively impactful, decrease the asymptotic curve of my paradigmatic vertical axis, and stuff.
So I said to myself: “Fuck this writing fiction shit. I’m just going to read it for fun.”
So I went to read the fiction books I bought and downloaded onto my Kindle.
And guess what I noticed?
I notice that none of the fiction books I read followed any of those damned rules!
And no, I wasn’t reading piece of shit fiction stories written by nobodies either.
I was reading American literary classics like Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” and similar pieces.
Have you guys tried to read this book? The Great Gatsby. Last week was my first time reading it.
The Great Gatsby was a horribly boring book. The plot sucked.
The author Fitzgerald breaks every rule those craft books teaches you to follow!
On one page Fitzgerald started a paragraph with “And so…”
On some pages, Fitzgerald doesn’t do anything but tell, using narration and exposition.
And his sentences? Like half the book is made up of run on sentences.
And yeah, he even used superlatives!!
And some of the prose and sentences he wrote were so florid/flowery that it was hard to decipher them to derive any practical meaning.
Let’s not mention the Great Tolkien, whose fictional stories became movies!
That dude’s long run on sentences were atrocious. And in many parts of his books, he told and didn’t show. He had a good balance of showing and telling, and use each at appropriate places.
So the fiction books I’ve been reading weren’t just written by amateurs and random nobodies.
Then it dawned on me… I thought to myself: “Hey wait a minute, who the fuck are those random nobodies writing all of those free to download craft books anyways, and why am I following their crazy advice for?”
You get what you pay for, as they say.
I learned to write non-fiction essays on philosophy and Buddhist thought ten years ago from obsessively reading David Myatt’s many, many essays.
I wasn’t just reading his essays to learn what he was “teaching.” I was doing two things with David Myatt’s essays: 1) deconstructing them & 2) reverse engineering them: in order to learn how to write like he did.
What I wanted to know how to do was how to express and format ideas. So when I read David Myatt’s essays, I would first read it to isolate the core idea he desired to get across to me: the reader. Then I read the essay again and watched carefully how he formatted his essays and how he articulated his thoughts, in order to transmit that core idea, effectively.
And so the essay itself, overall, has a structure or format whereby information is transferred from writer to target audience, effectively.
So I’d reverse engineer his essays, learn how he formatted them, and copy-catted him.
Later I accidently learned that after reading about three essays of his in a row, my mind was in some state where I could easily copy-cat his essay style and write my own.
So I did this in the beginning. I would read three or four of his essays in a row, and when my mind was freshly primed, I’d write my own essays. This was how I learned how to write.
Then, over the years, I’d alter and change David Myatt’s style which I copy-catted, to develop my own style and voice.
For the longest time, I thought that this way of learn how to write was primitive, like it was for stupid people who lacked the education and ability to write. I had dropped out of high school, and never learned how to write.
I never took any college course or read no books on how to write essays and articulate my thoughts. I learned how to do it by copycatting.
Recently, very recently, I was reading around one of my 383 Kindle books – I can’t recall which one – and in that book it told me something amazing and inspiring: this book told me that when Mark Twain was a young man and he desired to learn how to write, he would grab a fiction book he liked, and he would type the fiction book on his typewriter word for word! He copycatted.
I dis-covered that many writers actually learned their craft by copycatting authors they looked up to or admired; like Mark Twain did; and then they took that copycatted style and developed it gradually into their own style, and from this their unique writing voice evolved. How inspiring! And how simple.
And so now, I’ve set all those stupid “craft” books aside.
Instead I have a large collection on my Kindle of short science fiction, short fiction, and I’m reading those like I once read David Myatt’s essays. Not just to be entertained, but to deconstruct them and reverse engineer them.
I found out that after reading about three of those short stories in a row, my mind gets primed to write stories, in the same style or similar style.
So… I’m going to teach myself how to write fiction my own way, by copycatting. And I’m going to write “unconventionally” by using: adjectives, adverbs, modifiers, long sentences, run on sentences, telling, showing, narrating, expositing, describing, dialoguing, and so on; just like these fiction books have in them! I don’t care.