We love discussing writing strategies down here at the QuestinAuthor H.Q., it’s sort of our thing. We love tearing through sentences and breaking them down to their most basic elements to see how they work. We love fretting over word choice and pondering on which literary device is best fit to convey the image of a scene. And while our love for tinkering with the finer aspects of will never wane, a series of insights have dawned upon us as of late.
You see, it is not a matter of what we said in the best being untrue, as to my knowledge, everything we have said is rather solid. But like all complex things in life, writing prime among them, we were reminded of something paramount. And that is the simple reality that context matters.
What’s that you say? Our language is still too vague? Well then, let me take you through some baby steps.
In essence, while everything we advised was true, the manner in which the QuestingAuthor team went about doing so was flawed. For an author such as yourself, it is pertinent that you know of the technical use of language, the use of proper figurative devices, and the most efficient rituals to help your writing routine. But wherein does the flaw lie? Well, it lies in the fact that we were teaching you about this in a void.
We alloted separate articles for each of these issues, and it was not from a malicious desire that we went about doing this. For the purpose of clarity, it was best that we introduce the ideas to our audience in a singular fashion, this way, we could stay concise on the subject at hand. But my personal gripe with this is that I feel I might have come off as being too absolute or preachy in how I went about this message. To the point where it might feel as though an individual author’s agency to deviate from my advice would seem moot.
And let me be clear, if you feel that there are circumstances in which my advice does not apply, you are by no means obligated to ignore your gut. The only truly constant rule when it comes to writing is that all standards are meant to be broken. Granted, perhaps some attempts breaking standards go too far, but even these have certain value to them.
But the last thing I would want to do is narrow all of this down to the idea that what constitutes a quality story is subjective, which I disagree with. What I will say, is that there are two different ways that one could go about looking at their story’s faults. Firstly one could take the traditional Western process of boiling everything down to be tackled in parts, which has its merits. But, this does not mean that it is the only method of analysis that a story should be subject to. A novel must also be examined as a holistic beast. This means we must also view it as though it were a whole.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that all problems in a book should be zoomed in on, but, they should not be viewed as though they exist only in their particular category. For example, one could look at an example of faulty word choice as though it were only an issue of grammar, which it is. But this faulty word choice is not limited to that. The kind of words that you use do not only affect grammar, but could affect the tone, the themes, and the intentions of a character or the nature of a location. Where you see one sentence, there is actually a minute aspect of the entire narrative.
We need to realize that when we tinker with any part of our stories, the effect of this tinkering always has the potential of cascading through the rest of the novel. And unfortunately, due to the very nature of this blog, I am incapable of rendering a concrete image of how you might go about doing this. As it stands, I can only tell you that you ought to do it. This is because to give you advice on how to “Holistically” approach your work, I would need to personally examine your writings. And not only am I a lazy person, but it is quite literally impossible for me to do this. However, you can.
If there was any piece of advice that I gave in this blog which I considered to be truly essential, it would be this. By all means, continue applying the advice of my posts, but know that sometimes, in the context of your story, you might have to go about it in a different way than what I described.
I hope you found something in all of this. It’s more “meta” than my usual posts, but understanding this could be the key to fixing a lot of problems that seem invisible in your manuscript.
As always, this has been the QuestingAuthor. Keep Writing, my friends.