Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Great Writing Advice: Dance With The One That Brung Ya

Yesterday The New York Times ran a piece about a woman who had a career writing chick lit, but then got an MFA because she wanted to be a "serious" writer. After two years she tried to change the way she wrote in order to be more in line with what her professors wanted, and it ended up diluting her talent.

Students of writing take classes and search for the elusive voice. One of the first sophomoric questions asked of any published writer at a talk is almost always, "How did you find your voice?"

An extension of voice is style, and no matter how much instruction or literary fiction you read, your writing is going to come out that way it does, no matter what. And you shouldn't fight it. Writing chick lit or crime novels or Dungeon & Dragons fan fiction doesn't make you any less smart or serious than someone exploring the roles of modern women in a collection of magical realism short stories. Plot is plot, good writing is good writing. There isn't much more to than that.

It's also important to remember that while there is a lot of great genre fiction, there are also piles of the serious, literary stuff that is downright awful. It takes all kinds.

A Masters In Chick Lit