Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The nature of writing and criticism

Kingsley Amis said 'If you can't annoy somebody there's little point in writing' and Ernest Hemingway said 'If writers believe the critics when they say they are great then they must believe them when they say they are rotten and they lose confidence.'

Today, I've been considering the nature of criticism and the reception that we writers hope to get when submitting manuscripts. I've also thought about the reception that we actually get and whether these two tally or not, and I've come to the conclusion that there are no set rules.

Everyone is different. What will appeal to person X will not necessarily appeal to person Y and therefore the reception we receive must be immaterial.

What I liked about Debi Gliori when I went on the SCBWI retreat last year was that she wasn't one for hard and fast rules. Her advice was just get the story down. Then work on it. I've come to the conclusion that that's my working model. I have to draft and redraft. On the other hand, other writers have given me advice about how to write based on rules or techniques. I much prefer the former approach but then that's just me.

With this in mind, I've decided to listen to others and take on board what I can see working but remain faithful to my own beliefs at all times. Just thought I'd share that revelation with you all!!

'The pen - or in this case the keyboard- is the tongue of the mind' (Cervantes)after all!