Friday, August 13, 2010

Feral writing


It took me a long time to realize that finding my own way to write was okay. I kept trying what people told me was “the way.”


Problem: there is no one way. It’s not like traveling by train where there are rails and if you go off you’re doomed; it’s a bit more like exploring hiking trails: go for a while, get lost, refind the trail, get lost again, find some amazing views you didn’t expect, then pass out, exhausted.


Once I discovered that it was okay to write like me things fell into place. I was no longer beating myself up for failing at someone else’s process, and I was no longer writing stories that felt like a stranger had written.



The entire Sean Ferrell interview with Victoria Schwab is here.

15 comments:

Iman Herzi said...

Still struggling with this idea. :(

Thanks for sharing!

Brad Jaeger said...

Great interview! I can't get enough of Sean :)

Jm Diaz said...

Took me a while to get this as well. No longer trying to be the next Koontz, or Somers, or patterson. Just trying to be the first J.m. Diaz. I'd be nice to lead a genre, but awesome to create one.

Thats was a great interview...

Thanks for sharing.

jdh said...

For years I was crippled by my education. I arrived at college with a first draft of a novel.

I enrolled in several literature and language courses. Obtained a degree in comparative world literature. Became convinced that if I could not write like Hugo or Dostoevsky, my words were worthless. One day while crossing campus, I threw my manuscript in a garbage can.

Zoom forward several years. I have matured enough to pull my head out of my ass. While recovering from a minor bug, I crack open Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. Was it War and Peace? No, and thank heavens, no.

That's when I realized that I didn't even want to be a Dostoevsky. I wanted to be a storyteller, and the stories I wanted to tell could only be told in my own voice.

Roll forward a few more years, and I find myself pestering Janet Reid with one of these stories.

As far as Mr. Ferrell and his Numb are concerned, I am running on a deficit of sleep this week as I read the book in two sittings. (Shakes fist angrily at Sean.)

Linda Leszczuk said...

Just before this blog, I was reading one on the topic of breaking the rules...similar focus. But as a struggling ubpublished, being told that using a different writing styles or breaking certain rules can cause instant rejection is pretty daunting. It's very hard to take that risk.

Miss Footloose said...

For most writers it takes time to find their own writing (hiking) trail, their own pace, their own voice. Experimentation is good. You learn from it, well that is the idea.

Kathryn said...

Phew, that's a relief.

jjdebenedictis said...

Oh, I like this. I'm off to read the whole interview.

jdh said...

Oh, and btw, I didn't mean to imply that Dostoevsky wrote War and Peace. I was just thinking of one of the "masterpieces" I have never been able to make my way all the way through. :)

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for posting that. I think Sean is BRILLIANT and can't wait to read his next work. Especially since NUMB has made me clamor for more.

It's nice to know that he's found not only his stride, but a team who gets him. We should all be so lucky.

Ann Best said...

This is exactly what just happened to me with my contracted book. I discovered it was really a memoir, and when I found its "true" voice, everything began falling into place.

I did have to do a lot of "hiking" and "exploring" also. Good metaphors to explain the process.
Ann

Daisy said...

Oh sure, it's cute at first. And they seem so harmless, and this leftover encouragement was just going to go bad anyway. But when you get a whole pack of feral writers in your neighborhood-- tearing up your literary conventions, chasing down your concepts of sentence construction every time they step outside, keeping you up all night howling over their empty gin bottles-- well, the best you can do at that point is make sure your inbox lid is securely fastened and hope they don't breed.

Pepper Smith said...

That's probably one of the most important things a writer has to learn.

Josip said...

Inspiring

NG James said...

"Me" sucks. Passive is his voice, and he doesn't know how to write complex sentences without making them into rambling pieces of garbage that detract from his original sentiment through exhaustive over-explanation and horrible metaphor, like a rhino riding a dime operated brown and black pony outside the Super-Mart.
Also, he's dysexlic and inappropriately religious.

Amen.