Jules, I fear that tangents may lay ahead.
On poverty, esteem and entitlement, I am forced to disagree with you in that regard. Personally, I grew up impoverished and hold similar esteem and entitlement ideas about myself as you do about yourself. However, I also know plenty of people that grew up in a similar fiscal situation as myself, yet they believe that everything they do is perfect and that they deserve praise for their inferior acts. Such as atrocious writings, paintings, home built porches that are dangerous just to look at, must less stand on, etc.
From my own observations, those of us that are unwilling to accept honest praise for what it is, are that way because we have been, are and always will be our worst critics. It’s not that we can’t see the value of our own creations, it’s that we can see, what we consider to be, its glaring faults.
I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Looking at writing in particular, disregarding the story that is being told with the writing, because it is somewhat immaterial to the quality or worth of the writing. There are three main characteristics that one can use to analyze someones work.
Let us call it the “PEC” of writing. That is, Picture, Emotion and Clarity. Reducing the analysis of writing in general to these three things and ignoring grammar and what not, is simplifying things a bit, but I’m going to do it anyways, because I can.
Picture: This would be the image that the concert of the writers words and the readers mind create. In regards to stories, this can be a critical element. Especially since the place in and of itself is a significant character, more often then not, in a story. Often the most vivid pictures are created by the words that aren’t used as much as by what words are used. We’ve all read books where a room, a place or a person is described in such detail that it, in effect, kills the creation that has in ones mind of that vision. There is a balance that is required here and that balance shifts depending on the pace of the story and the recurrence of the picture/vision, etc.
Emotion: This is difficult to quantify. But simply put, characters experiencing emotional events does not dictate that said emotion will be transmitted to the reader. Such as in suspense novels, where the story is so predictable and the events so redundant that the reader isn’t going to get anything out of it. Ditto for scenes of romance, action, fear, anger, love, etc. To me, this transmission of emotion from the author to the reader is dependent a great deal upon the flow of the words and the honesty of the writing, more so then any eloquence or vastness of vocabulary that one may employ.
The first time. That time will always have a powerful emotion connected to it, maybe good, maybe bad, but it will always be there. I firmly believe that presenting an event or idea with original wording is one of the surest ways to convey a deep emotion to the reader. Because instead of the words clicking with an amassed pool of prior experiences it plows its own way through ones spirit.
Clarity: Otherwise known as the cousin of honesty. This is, in my opinion, the most difficult aspect of writing for people to master. I can’t say how many times that I’ve read a book where it was like I was wearing goggles that had been coated in bean soup. The right words were there. It was original and the author was good at painting a picture. But, alas, it was all a mire of misunderstanding, because, either the author didn’t know what they were trying to say or do with the story or they didn’t know how to write honestly or both.
The most original wording and majestic picture painting doesn’t mean a damn thing if no one can figure out what the hell is going on. No emotion is going to come from that writing, because emotions can only come from clarity.
“Did you read this sentence? It’s amazing.”
“Oh, that’s impressive for sure. . . what does it make you feel?”
“It makes me feel like I need to increase my vocabulary!”
“Uh, is confusion a feeling?”
But, I digress.
Why are you such a shitty writer that doesn’t deserve any praise Jules ? (calm down people, that’s a satirical and rhetorical question)
It’s the same reason that I’m a shitty writer.
It’s our perspective of our own writing that over confirms to us the deficits of our respective talents.
Using the PEC analysis I laid out above. I’m willing to be that you would consider your own P and E abilities as bellow average, while recognizing that your C abilities are very high.
It’s similar for me, I see my own P and E abilities as being high, but my C abilities as being low.
That’s why I’m drawn to your writing Jules and the writing of people like Paul Reney who also has stellar C talents. Because, that’s what I believe I am lacking in.
That’s also why you’re drawn to people who write with a high degree of P and E abilities. Because, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it is because you believe that if your writing was better in regards to P and E, then it would actually be worth the praise that people lavish it and you with. I believe this, because I do the same thing with the C aspect.
Well, here it is straight up Jules, we’re both wrong.
The P and E of my writing couldn’t be effective if the C wasn’t there, they just couldn’t. Thus, my writing has much more C, in it then I give it credit for.
Ditto for the P and E content and quality of your writing. If all you were capable of writing with was the C aspect, then no one would be reading it, because it would come across as the citations of a morticians dissection of a corpse.
This is all a very protracted method of my saying that the greatest Champions are born not of complacency, nor of entitlement, but of seeing their own weakness, exaggerating it and assaulting it, over and over again. This has been demonstrated again and again with the mentalities of the truly elite athletes and musicians. I’ve read interview after interview of the worlds greatest singers who truly hated the sound of their own voice. Because what they primarily hear, is the part of their voice that is inferior. Yes, they hear that the pitch is correct, and the timing, but that timber, that undertone, and why can’t I go higher or lower, so and so can do that shit, I can’t, I suck at that. Meanwhile, the other elite musicians are looking at them and thinking the same thing!
Good lord, I must have been bitten by the ramble-itus bug.