Over the years I've noticed more and more people in published literature following to the conformed style of everyone else. Dry unimaginative, and some of it feels like reading instructions to working on your car. What happened to us, the Bards, and Tale-Weavers? We used to master the written word and make it bend to our will. For instance no one used to care if you wrote "It was masoned against the wall." Now you mention it and most people give you the WTF eye. So once again why are so many people these days afraid just to write, and let it flow; and let the beauty of our words paint against their minds.
- GW Nichols
I'm not (which is why I write what I want on HubPages, but which is also why I sometimes cringe at the apparently haphazardness of my own writing ). Still, I always imagine my future grandchildren or great-grandchildren finding what I've written and seeing a real glimpse into the person I am in the time in which I'm living. Somehow, that thought is what makes me give myself permission to "go wild" and write the way I prefer to write. I have other "masoned" material elsewhere, so this site gives me that little extra bit of writing freedom.
With a lot of my Hubs, I wouldn't call it the "beauty of words", but instead, maybe the "order" or the "crafting" of words. There's a difference between "masoned" writing and "ordered" or "crafted" writing, even if there isn't any particular beauty in some of the latter.
I don't agree with you. With the Internet ,everybody is writing, letting everything flow, feelings of fear, hate, happiness, love. It happens everywhere !
There are a hundred of sites for writers. Maybe you didn't go there to read ? Thousands of blogs where people write their thoughts.
I really don't know what you're talking about.
Everybody writes nowadays !
And nobody is afraid !
tantrum, I see this (your) side to it, and you have a really good point. At the same time, though, I think the other side (the OP's point) is that there are a lot of people, companies, publishers, etc. who do discourage people from being a little more free with their writing. Maybe it depends on where people most frequently hang out on the Internet, but I think I know what the OP means. Someone (an administrator) actually "put out word" that "it isn't enough to just have a way with words". The point of the remark was that the particular writing site was looking for "professionally done" articles, written with objectivity and kept to minimum in length. That's often very much the message a lot of places/people send to online writers (and there are "online reasons" for it). I think you and the OP are both right, but maybe seeing different corners of the same larger picture of Internet (and other) writing, and maybe depending on the view from each individiual's seat.
Uh, I'm gonna go with "Because so many people are grammatically challenged." Some people can't put together a coherent sentence to save their life. I could do that well enough. But I can't figure out the cure for cancer.
Masoned against the wall, I love that! And thank you for the question. This subject is briefly touched on, in a round-about way, by Stephen King in his book On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. I didn't think I liked Stephen King, until I read this one and he stresses the free flow of words.
THANK YOU! thank you for understanding that every book and piece of poetry don't have to be the same all the time.
I'm deathly terrified of it, it keep me awake at night!!!
Because if you're not careful, it will slither out of your closet and throttle you in the night.
Once written it's real whether there is truth to it or not.
I don't exactly FEAR the written word, but it does have a strong and meaningful affect on me, and also on other people I love, so that we have to be selective. I do enjoy being shocked awake, however, and this can happen in a good way by writers who have a love affair going on with the written words - ralwus does that in a good way! even if he can get down and dirty with words sometimes. The thing is that everyone should have a healthy consideration for and from what they are reading. I don't know where you got your idea about FEAR, but maybe you are just using that word to get a response from us! heheheh
I think what GWN is referring to is a style of writing that is more colourful and suggestive than matter-of-fact. The sort of writing you read in some of the best, old, well-regarded published works. A kind of lost art that some younger (or perhaps less literate) readers can't fathom. There seems to be a sort of dumbing-down of writing style in many publications.
The internet is primarily an information source, so the matter-of-fact approach is often presumed to be required to maintain the viewer's attention. The free-form nature of blogs is colourful in a different way..more of a street language. It also has its' place.
In all fairness i don't think the title of my hub was a true explanation of my question; however most of you got it. The fear of the Written Word, letting it become your master instead of letting it move forward and just flow. Most of you did state this, Timorous, and Lisa hit the idea right on the nose of what i meant.
I'm not talking about where you write, or what you write, but how you write. And why are so many people afraid to leap from the cliff and just let the words flow.
I have trouble even reading a published work these days pick it up get four pages into it and toss it away. Then again I'm not yet published myself, but i will be.
So again why are we all afraid to just write.
Much of the internet writing caters to general reading by generic people. I can't imagine any of the great writers - Hemmingway for instance - writing a "hub"
As of late I have been having a ball with odd prompts and challenging myself to shed my writing inhibitions. So far I only have fragments that I am pleased with. I just keep on writing.
I write because I am comfortable with who I am and the way that my thoughts transform to words-whether or not they have mass appeal does not really enter my mind until later...
I know what you are saying though-
I think that so many are afraid of going against the general audience of what is acceptable and pushing their creative minds and abilities that they lean more towards following others 'guidelines', because they are afraid to offend-and or be judged by readers who misunderstand their styles and views brought into writing, therefore they write with mass appeal, rather than literary creativity. But that’s my opinion.
Good Question-Great Thought behind it!
That's what I do. I love to write and just let it flow, just wish I were imaginative and creative enough to capture the readers minds if only for a few moments.
And to; it depends upon what you are writing about as to how cautious we need to be. When writing in the Religion and beliefs category, those reading are automatically prone to "Interpret" the message so it is critical as to what is actually written.
sometimes the chosen word in the sentence can imply a totally different .. tone of voice .. than a similar word would have created; especially if the reader already wants to disagree. And I am not talking just about the forums but the article as well.
I'm not skeard a no stinking words ...
But I am often a bit too cautious.
Good Day GW Nichols,
I believe it is possible that there simply aren't that many writers who are skilled at the kind of writing you admire. It may not be fear holding anybody back. People writing on the Internet, as we are, I think, understand that they are not just competing against other writers but other mediums, as well, that vie for people's attention.
As you know, there are far more ways to amuse oneself on offer, since the time of Hemmingway (a name that's come up in the responses). Knowing this, I think writers really are trying their best. You just aren't "feeling it."
I take your point about not being able to get through four pages of some authors's work, without giving it up. I find that many fiction writers, for instance, especially suspense, horror writers are not prose stylists. You're right, reading their stuff feels too much like work; and their novels are far too long.
The writers I admire and therefore love to read are Mario Puzo (mafia novels), John Grisham (legal thrillers), Elmore Leonard (crime not mystery novels), Phillip Roth (modern-day Hemmingway in my opinion), and Phillip K. Dick (science fiction).
I love reading these authors so much because they are true prose stylists. They have "a way with words," a rhythm that pulls me through the book just as much, if not more, than the actual plot.
Now that is a good response. As I prowl my way into the world of Published fiction, I understand that the skill of writing has declined; that opens up a box of hope those of us with the skill; maybe not the finances at this juncture, to truly write. However i fear the industry itself is supporting the DUMBED down writing simply because that's what the reader wants.
So in essence the Fear of the Written Word that the world has Will it damn those of us who know how to craft it, or will his raise us to the top of the heap. That is the question only time will tell.
I'd like to thank all of you who responded to this inquiry; I think there's hope for the Story Tellers of the future now. It'll just take one to break the mold and return the Art back to an Art not just a past time.
Maybe because it can become a record of what they want to avoid... but then I almost turned my back on writing because I thought everybody can write, and I was asking myself what would make me different from them? I realized it was wrong because we all write but we have different hearts and that make our style
I think the problem stems from Political Correctness. Nobody wants to be thought of as prejudiced just because of something they wrote once a long time ago... I also think publishers are concerned about backlash from controversial subjects & thinking they wont sell because everyone will 'boycott' the work.
Who wants to defend themselves and the way they think just because their imagination came up with a controversial subject they chose to create into a story/book?
I think Rafini comes really close to accuracy in her post. The question seems to come down to money. We who write on the web do not have the same expectations as those who write to gain the general worlds' approval. Those who seek the latter have to submit their works to publishers. It then becomes a matter of probability as to whether you will be published if you write safe literature or whether you wish to suffer through a mound of denials in order to find a publisher who values the avant guard in word smithing. Those who write for an income are often chickens in that respect and not willing to break new ice. People like Steven King who have in their early times already ruptured the ice for themselves don't mind prodding new minds to do the same but most often, people who want to be published by the same people who publish Steven King books end up mimicking his style in order to find a ready market for their work.
On the other side, Publishers by all accounts have become cowardly in their stance on the avant guard. Read any Writers Market edition or Writers handbook and they express that while they believe people should write what is in them and let the chips fall where they may, publishers are dipping into their slush pile less and less. When faced with such realism (or pessimism with a smile), it is only natural for writers with a weak constitution for rejection to take the path of least resistance in writing.
It doesn't help that most people learn how to write in College where English 1a more times then not fails people who have free spirited way of wielding their pen. I personally failed that class four times before I found a formulaic way of addressing the page that gave the teacher what they want but it then took me better than 5 years to break those habits again so that I could be happy with novels I have in progress.
You are totally spot on with this one. I had a long rant about this in my hub about racism and Goldman Sachs vampire squids--people in a graduate level writing class telling white guys they can't have black characters and stuff. Just incredible. This is such a pox on truth and meaning and art, it's hard to wrap my head around. VERY astute observation.
I think some writers thrive on stirring things up a bit. Besides, it's not really the author's problem when they write what they truly believe in their heart of hearts, it's the reader's occasionally misguided interpretations and prejudices that make anything unacceptable. People need to have a thicker skin (metaphorically speaking).
Some writers adopt a writing style that is deliberately obtuse, leaving a great deal of leeway in the meaning behind the words.
Others like to play it safe and make the meaning as clear and unambiguous as possible. The former is more engaging for the mind, the latter is more matter-of-fact and boring.
Yeah, I agree with you. I'm also thinking I'm one of them. I don't have issues with speaking my mind, saying it as I see it, speaking the truth when it comes to definition of words, and so forth. And at the same time, I like to leave my readers with a sense of thoughtfulness. (food for thought writing lol)
But what do you think about my thoughts on writers attempting to be Politically Correct? (in order to a- get published and b- not offend their readers)
I think the whole concept of "Politically Incorrect" is bunk. If someone is intentionally uttering words to hurt or shame innocent people, that's totally unacceptable. But anything else that some may be offended by, just shows how immature and thin-skinned they are. Stop taking things so seriously, already.
There are ways of choosing your words carefully to avoid being overtly offensive, without resorting to 'made up' language to hide behind. Just be moderately considerate of how others may perceive what you have to say. Just don't get hung up on every word.
A writing style that is a little thought-provoking is not only more interesting to read, it tends to make the reader a little smarter, forcing them to think, rather than being spoon-fed information.
I agree with you, but I'm thinking there are people out there who don't want to think and would rather throw around accusations of political incorrectness at a writer. So, then, there would be writers & publishers who are 'afraid' of the written word (because it would cause false accusations) and there would be readers who are 'afraid' of the written word (because it would make them think or hear something they don't want to hear because it's 'offensive' to them)
I still think it's the reader's problem. Perhaps they've been conditioned by the media to think that way. Too bad. The writer shouldn't have to explain/apologize for him/herself. If the writer is afraid of being turned down by a timid publisher, go find one that's more open-minded. After all...controversy makes for good publicity sometimes, doesn't it?
Now that it's their problem, let's consider the fact that there are more of 'them' than there are those of us who wish to speak and write the truth as we see it. It becomes a matter of....who's in charge of who's fear? Don't ya think?
Writers through the ages had to face down that question whenever they put pen to paper and some authors paid with their lives. Whether right or wrong in society or the writer, there has always been a love hate relationship between the public and writers who were willing to face down words such as "politically incorrect," "racist," "sexist," "bigot," "too abstract," "heretic," "crass," "vulgar," "illogical," etc ad nauseam. There are even some books that if you try to check out in a library let alone write any defense of you end up drawing attention from big brother. Try writing a defense for the causes behind Nazi Germany from a German point of view and actually take seriously the frank ignorance of the populous at large and the aftermath of Treaty of Versailles and see if you don't draw more fire then just words from readers who are 'thin skinned.' Try to compare the tribal practices of the ivory coast and the mentality of plantation owners in the south and see what kind of response you get from the public at large.
Thank you, very well put.
So....the love-hate relationships I've endured through my life were for a reason??
Yeah you were thinking and as someone else in this thread pointed out, there is a populous out there who very much emulate some of the ideals in "Atlas Shrugged."
Unfortunately facing it and overcoming it become two different things. I haven't found any solution other then to ask myself if I have the right to think and if so then I aught to own it regardless of the consequences. If I don't get hit by lightning and my way is lit as I walk it then I figure I haven't done anything too terrible.
1. The flashing lights of TV, the Internet and video games has removed the ability to concentrate long enough for people to read great writing.
2. If people don't read great writing they are unlikely to know what it looks like, what it feel like inside, how it sounds to their inner and outer ears... what is possible as suggested by what has come before.
3. Compounding number 2 above, is that people read craptons of poor writing and internalize that instead, crushing whatever whisper might remain of the one or two great works they might read here or there. As more and more people write more and more stuff online, and it gets easier and easier to "publish" without applying any rigor or discipline to honing craft or even revising work a few times first, the phenomenon reinforces itself.
4. The 5-paragraph essay and other things like that, things which started out as a reasonable approach to teach a basic concept, have become some sort of rigid spine of written thought. Young writers actually think that is what writing is supposed to be like, rather than realizing that was just an exercise in constructing/organizing thoughts.
5. People mistake their right to write with the ability to make art. One requires a keyboard, the other takes discipline. Some don't care about making art, and that's cool too. But I think the "fear" you talk about is some relationship between what people want to make, or think they are making, how they want their work to be seen, and the reality of what it is they are actually producing.
Oh Shadesbreath...I totally agree. You've hit the proverbial nail on the head.
It's too bad that popular culture has made the ordinary and mundane somethng seemingly worthy of our attention. Just look at American Idol.
True art takes time to be honed. Unfortunately, anything intellectual is frequently dismissed by ordinary folk as too smart for them.
This has become a pretty juicy thread, I must say.
Too many electronic devices and too little study. Anyone, if they want, can be their own professional student. If you have too many devices than you should always have at your hands a world of unique ways to learn. But what do I see on buses? Adults playing electronic games and listening to electronic headsets, and texting. At least the texting has promise but even my own roommate admits she doesn't do anything but talk about basically nothing important except people, dates and times and events. I have one item. It's my computer. I spend my days reading and writing, and, writing and reading. That doesn't make me a pro but when the satin bed sheet becomes an underwater stingray and disappears behind a sea cliff, I have no choice but to go around the bed and pick it up from the floor.
I think lots of writing has moved into the fast food category---eat it fast, read it fast, write it fast. My instructors said much of my writing was too flowery----they said "Get to the point." That's why I love creative writing and poetry----I just go with the word flow and enjoy the beauty of words.
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