Subjective Nature of Writing

Just for fun, I recently entered a query hook contest hosted by a fellow aspiring author.  I’ve read some of the other entries – they’re pretty good!  I have no illusions of ‘winning’, but that wasn’t really the point anyway.  I was mainly curious about how my first line fared in critique.  My hook garnered two comments:

  1. Doesn’t jump into the story enough, maybe start with action (paraphrased)
  2. “This is so friggin awesome!  It’s perfect and I NEED to read more.”

If this weren’t so frustrating, it would be funny; in a matter of two sentences and less than ten seconds, I went from “Dang, am I ever going to be any good?” up to “Yay!  Maybe my writing is decent!”  My inner emotions moved from despair to elation with alarming swiftness – I almost couldn’t keep up.

Now that my heart rate has slowed to normal, I can appreciate this clear example of what I’ve known all along:  writing is too subjective for an outsider to deem something good or bad.  (Except for the agent, of course; if they don’t think a novel is good, it doesn’t go anywhere).  For my physical health (and my sanity), I need more confidence that my writing has merit.  If I truly believe I can write well, I can sell it with enough conviction that others will believe it too.

For the last week, I’ve been considering taking a Fiction Manuscript Writing class at a community college.  The application is printed, filled out and waiting for me to get the courage to submit it.  This experience has given me the nudge I needed, but I have mixed emotions:  one part of me is excited to learn about the elements and proper construction of a story.  The other part of me is scared I may discover that my aptitude for writing is marginal, at best, and my manuscript will crumble-putting my dream on life support.  Who knows, maybe my manuscript and I are stronger than I give us credit for.  I don’t know.  There’s only one way to find out.

I’ve never found knowledge to be a mistake in the past, but then again, it’s always been a safe distance from my dreams.  The way I see it, learning is the best way to get confidence in myself.  What’s the worst that can happen?  I have to rebuild myself (and my first novel) from the ground up?  It could be a valuable life lesson-and we’ll both be stronger from it.

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7 thoughts on “Subjective Nature of Writing

  1. Brown Eyed Mystic July 27, 2010 / 8:13 PM

    Wow. Talk about that, Janna. I couldn’t jibe better with you.

    Sure, writing is perceived as the reader likes it to be perceived. There are numerous examples: J.K Rowling, Stephen King among others were rejected several times before someone looked at them and thought they had the spark. I say, keep going, it has to be there. If you have passion, other goodies will follow 😉

    And about the course. Lovely, go get the lessons! I am going to join a one year course at the University coming year. And I know Lua is joining one this fall. Don’t be afraid–I am sure you’ll just do fine! 🙂

    -BrownEyed

    • jannatwrites July 27, 2010 / 8:41 PM

      You’re always so supportive! I can’t wait until Friday when I can go register for the course after work. It’s not nearly as big as what you and Lua are tackling, but I’ll stick to baby steps! I hope you’ll share your thoughts of the experience on your blog.

      • Brown Eyed Mystic July 27, 2010 / 9:04 PM

        That’s the way to go!
        Sure I shall blog my experiences once I start attending it. 🙂

        Luck and Love,
        -BrownEyed

  2. Kavita July 28, 2010 / 12:15 AM

    All I can say is, GOOD LUCK with your writing! Pay attention to the feedback (which I am sure you do ;-)), and write with all your heart (which also I am very sure you do!)
    The rest will just follow 🙂
    HAPPY WRITING!!! (many hugs)

  3. Lua July 28, 2010 / 4:16 AM

    I say go and sigh up for the course! It’ll be fun and feedback will be useful. The people you’ll meet there, other aspiring authors, always encourage and support each other 🙂
    I’ll be sharing my experience with the MA over at my blog, every step of the way. It’ll be fun for both of us Jannat!

    • jannatwrites July 28, 2010 / 7:02 PM

      I can’t wait to read about your exeriences on your blog. I’m sure you will tell them in a very interesting way!

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