I think I’ve had epiphany.
I’ve often had problem in writing communities that the most common respond to beginners’ cries is “do as you will”. How many times I’ve cried out in response – but I have no idea what it is I’m suppose to will?
Well, last month I was talking to a truly beginner and realized suddenly that to all his cries of help, I had the urge to respond exactly the same. Out of spite. I’m not as spiteful as I play out to be sometimes, but it struck me that I really felt spiteful that moment. All the man wanted, was some answers. The same answers I wanted few years ago when I decided I wanted to know more than my own empty head was willing to give.
Why would I respond like that? To me, this was the meanest respond I could receive from people I considered my idols in writing world.
But then it got to me that he had to learn it by himself. Make the same mistakes we all go through so he can see the difference. Otherwise he would have never seen the real difference between character that captures you or flat Mary Sue. There is no “all roads take to Rome”, because if you explore them, they suddenly take you to London instead.
I stopped writing then, mostly duo over-planning and stress that caused, but also because of this. I realized that I was after shortcuts, but didn’t really want them. That’s why I couldn’t press myself ask questions that mattered to me, because I didn’t focus at all to the responses. Most of the questions I asked would have brought simple yes or no answers, but that doesn’t take you anywhere. And in the end I would have still gone back to books to understand why they gave me that yes, or no.
So even though I still find it very rude (because it shows how little others actually care) and I try to get pass this negative enforcement of “do as you will”, it was rather liberating. I realized that I didn’t need to constantly check on books to write. That I was constructing better story skeletons without having to peep into how-to-s so often.
I’m guessing he will have to go through the same road to come to the same conclusion one day – the understanding why pros don’t teach you unless you listen and don’t just hear.
Growing pains, some would say.