Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"...but don't look like you're trying to write well...Idon't know; just write casual."

How sad is this; I knew what I wanted to write for my second Insecure Writers Support Group post about three days after I posted the first one.

In a Podcast, I heard this discussed, and someone asked if writers were a particularly insecure bunch. The interviewee said “I don’t think so; writers just seem to have more of a license to express it” (I’d love to give credit, but I listen to so many, I’ve lost the details).

Since, in reality, all stories have already been told, the key to writers’ success is “a good story, well told.” I have a TON to learn about story-telling, and I’m OK with that, but it’s the Good Writing that concerns me.
Sometimes, it’s obvious that writers are trying too hard to do Good Writing Adjectives abound, and it seems that at least three thesauruses were harmed in the making of the book. I once read part of a self-published philosophical booklet by a local proprietor of a used CD shop. No lie, it sent me to the dictionary about five times per page. I don’t think I got more than 15 pages into it. I like it when a book introduces me to a new word or two throughout the story, and I like it best when I can get the gist of it from the context of its use.

So, I worry about is writing well, without looking like I’m trying to write well. There certainly is a place for literary fiction, and I enjoy it every now and then, but that’s not what I aspire to. Like any other writer, I love words, and like any other insecure person, I cover it with my vast intellect (my IQ is at least in the triple digits). So, it’s going to be a game of trying hard to get out of the story’s way. Does anyone else worry about trying too hard?


  1. Hi Will. I was just reading yesterday that trying to be 'show offy' just irritates your readers. Most readers don't want to read with a dictionary beside them, but I confess, that's what I make my ESL students do. Such a great way to increase vocab. but by the time you're in your twenties you should have a handle on most words...I'm currently reading an e-book by a fellow blogger with one of my students and unfortunately there's not many 'hard' words. Maybe we sometimes over simplify???


  2. I totally agree with you there. Writing well is hard, and I'm jealous of your triple digit IQ. But I guess we can only do our best and hope others like it.

  3. Hi - I'm blog-hopping at random and landed here. You reminded me about a story I wrote, then re-read several months later - I had to look up words I'd used... I rewrote it swiftly!

  4. Personally, when I sit down with a book I prefer it be written as though the person is sitting next to me having coffee. I hate all those big words being slung around. Put your balls away and just tell me the damn story.

  5. No. I don't worry about trying too hard. I worry about not trying hard enough.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Since I've already established my style, which did not include a lot of big or strange words, I have to remind myself to stay the course.

  7. "...and it seems that at least three thesauruses were harmed in the making of the book."

    I love that line.

    I know I try to hard, which makes it harder to get out of my own way.

  8. Hey there,
    Great blog. I am a latecomer to the insecure writers group, just thought I would pop over and say "hello".
    Keep up the good work.
    eve :)

  9. I try not to abuse my thesaurus but I do use it. Not for big words though. I've always said my books are easy reads - no big words because I don't know any.

  10. I can't stand it when writers go overboard with trying to sound literary. Makes me feel nauseous. hehe

  11. I totally get that. Trying to make it look effortless is very hard!

  12. I think the best stories are the ones which manage to pull you in with the simplest of words!

    Happy weekend!