Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The Insecure Writer And Not Knowing How To Tell A Story
Today is June's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
Update: Last month I was feeling a bit insecure because I wasn’t feeling insecure enough. That’s no longer a problem. I now have a new insecurity, which means I’m a real writer again. Yay!
So why am I an Insecure Writer this month?
Because I worry that I’m not a good enough storyteller.
I’ve never considered myself a good writer. I write well enough to publish research papers, but fiction is another animal entirely. Research reports can be, and are often expected to be, rather dry affairs. Nothing but the facts, ma’am, laid down in the proper format. Fiction is different. The choice of words, the subtle use of emotion, the voice; all these things go into the making of a good story, and I’m just not as competent in those areas as other writers I know. I’m not being humble or pessimistic here. It’s a simple fact, and I’ve come to accept it.
Despite this, I always figured if I had a good enough tale to tell, readers might accept my less than stellar writing. But lately I’ve been wondering: what if I really don’t know how to tell a good tale? What if I don’t have the knack for organizing it in order to maximize the tension? What if the parts of the story I find boring (and thus ignore) are the very parts everyone else wants to know? What if I don’t know what I don’t know about storytelling? Hmmm...
Some people know how to tell a story. Others don’t. Am I the former or the latter? Trouble is, I won’t know the answer until my book is finished.