Saturday, 17 November 2012

How Writing Evolves

As writers, we never really think too much about how our writing develops or progresses as we write, but it does. 

Writing is an ever changing, continual fluid process; there is always something new to learn, there are better ways of approaching writing and there are always different ways to improve our skills. 

But how does how our writing evolve?  Do we notice it?

Over the course of writing a novel, for instance, you will notice how your writing develops during this process if you were to compare later chapters with your earlier chapters.  You will see a significant difference between them – the writing at the beginning might seem raw and unstructured or a little less cohesive, but towards the end it is much better – it has better structure, it’s more unified and more refined.  Descriptions might seem fuller, characters might seem deeper and more complicated, dialogue has improved and the general writing structure is enhanced. 
 
Also, you will notice that more complex things like metaphors, similes, symbolism and subplots have emerged.

This happens because in the time it has taken to write the novel – anything between 12 months to several years – the standard of writing has visibly improved because of this ongoing fluid process of writing, learning, improving and therefore evolving. 

Even over the course of writing a short story, your writing still evolves. That’s because everything develops naturally, and writing is no different.  So over the course of many years, the quality of writing and the standards of practice get better as you learn the craft and thus become more proficient. 

As well as the need to learn and progress, the other thing that helps writers evolve is constant writing. This helps you find out what works and what doesn’t, it helps you settle into a rhythmic ‘voice’ that is unique to your narrative; it also helps you understand the limitations of your writing.
 
And just like anything in life, it’s true that the more we do something, the better we become. 

Therefore it makes senses that the more flash fiction and short stories or poetry we write, the better we become in general.  The standard improves and the writing becomes better.  And that’s what every writer should aim for.

Think of it as a painting – the more brush strokes you add, the more layers you include to the overall effect, which eventually creates a beautiful picture.  You want to achieve the same with your writing.  Lots of brushstrokes and layers.

Compare the standard of writing when you first started to write, to the standard now.  There will be a significant difference between your first attempts and the writing you produce now, and it may surprise you.  If the standard hasn’t changed, however, then there is something fundamentally wrong and your writing skills need to be addressed. 
 
This often happens when writers don’t want to learn and therefore they never really improve their writing skills. The reason for this is simple arrogance – some writers think they already know it all, and are not open to advice and skill sharing. 

These writers will never evolve.

Writing is a constantly changing subject – it never stays static – because there are always new things to learn, new avenues to take, new ideas to explore and better writing to accomplish. 

As writers, we all start in the same place – at the bottom – but where you want to go is down to the writing.

So in order for your writing to evolve positively:-

·       Take on board good advice
·       Take the time to learn about the craft
·        Read as many authors as you can, learn from the best
·        Write constantly – short stories, flash fiction, poetry etc.  Practice makes almost  perfect.

To evolve is to improve.  It’s entirely down to writers whether they want to.

 
Next week: Getting to grips with Short Stories

 

2 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed reading this. Very true. When I go back and read old stories the difference is so stark it nearly punches me in the face.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  2. Gods yes! The first novel I wrote was so awful I cringed when I returned to it!

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