Many writers struggle against perfectionism. In previous posts we discussed omitting extra words, editing for clarity. Simple clarity is not in the least easy to achieve. It never has been. As far back as 1837 writer and poet Thomas Hood quoted “the easiest reading is damned hard writing”.
We know that no human is perfect. Neither can anybody be ‘good’ all the time. Yet we often make the mistake of expecting perfection in our writing. The number of articles devoted to defeating perfectionist tendencies toward gives us a clue as to the extent of the struggle. All anyone can do is their best and to strive to improve. At some time we have to say enough and submit.
This quote reminds me of an elderly friend who complained to me about a book she had read. Although she really enjoyed the story, she doesn’t like reading certain scenes. Yes, those scenes. However, when she skipped them, she found that she had missed something crucial and had to backtrack and read them.
From her description of the plot, I recognised it as a book written by an author friend of mine. However much as I sympathised with my elderly friend for having to read the scenes she had no desire to, I had to congratulate my author friend who did her job well.
There are all kinds of books in my library. Books I lose myself in and books in which I have found myself. One never knows which kind of book one is going to be when you take it down off the shelf.
As a writer, it’s much the same, at least for me. Some books take me away and I never want to come back. Others answer questions I wasn’t aware I needed to ask. I have a special fondness for books which teach me something unexpectedly.
Why? Because fiction is just that. A product of the imagination of a writer. The result of careful crafting, not constrained by facts, reality or the world we live in.
Your definition of good fiction may be different at various times, depending on many things including your mood, what you want out of your book.
Why do you read whatever it is that you read? Can you add to this list? For enjoyment, procrastination, escape, fantasy, entertainment, mental stimulation, armchair travel. To find answers, learn the right questions to ask, how to make better decisions, educate yourself. To improve your life skills, capacity for understanding, empathy, vocabulary, memory, focus, concentration, communication, writing skills, creativity, motivation, physical and mental health, self-esteem, learn the lessons of history, learn how people think, why they act as they do, learn life skills, how to make better decisions, open your mind. To lose yourself in fantasy, explore the universe, other lands, people and cultures, your own choices, motivations and depths, to put yourself to sleep…