In continuation of last weekend’s post on comparing writing to driving, I thought I’d make another comparison today:
Writing is like a dress.
Yes, there are plenty of comparisons. Dresses are pretty-writing is pretty. Dresses are made-stories are made. Dresses get stuffed in a closet, books get stuffed on a shelf.
Okay, maybe that last comparison was for me, but only because I’m a pack rat.
But the previous comparisons, though true, are not the object of the comparison I wish to give today.
About a week ago I was browsing the internet and came across an article from a writer addressed to aspiring writers who needed advice on how to write a good book. A list appeared below the introduction, and as I glanced at the suggestions provided, I found myself feeling, well…a little ignorant, I guess…because many of the suggestions the writer said not to do was something I did as a writer. This included using certain common words and analogies that I had often thought (and heard) were signs of “good” writing.
Don’t get me wrong-the article’s writer did offer good advice. Many of the points made were valid. But as I looked at this list of “do’s and don’t’s”, it made me wonder if there really is a right way or a wrong way to write.
If we look at art-say, for instance, painting-artists create their work in a variety of different ways. Some paint exactly what they see in photographic quality. Some paint a blurred version or maybe use different colors to convey meaning. Others may paint shapes and lines that are abstract that may not look like what it’s based on, but if you study it closely it conveys the essence of the object or scene being painted and adds a new level of understanding to it. Art-specifically painting in this example-has no “one size fits all” technique. There is no single correct way to paint a picture. There’s a variety of ways, whether it’s in the style or the utensils used, to create a work of art. It all depends on the artist.
I think the same applies to writing. Yes, there are some rules of thumb that you must follow in writing, such as in grammar and spelling (although even that can be played with, depending on your style). But like painting, and like a dress, their is no “one size fits all” way to write. For some writers, they may use a lot of dialogue. Others may use rhyme or rhythm. Still others may use wording techniques that others may deem grammatically incorrect. Writing styles, like art, contain variety, all based on what the creator does.
Could you imagine if there was only one size available for a dress? Most of the ladies would only wear shirts and pants because if only one size was available, that dress would only appeal to a small amount of people. For writing, if all stories carried the same style, only a few readers would truly want to read it. It would only appeal to a small audience and would limit the choices of where the audience could get a good story.
In short: variety is good (at least that’s my opinion). It allows us, the artists or writers, to be creative and imaginative in our ways of bringing story to the world.
It also allows shopping for clothes to be a much more pleasant experience.