Monday, January 30, 2006

The Ambivalent Writer

The Forest For the Trees has some specific advice for the different "types" of writers that the author has encountered during her years as an editor (and now as an agent). The first type she deals with is the "ambivalent writer." I think the title is a bit misleading. The ambivalent writer is not the writer who can't decide whether or not he should write at all. Instead, he is the writer with far too many ideas and never completes (or sometimes even starts) any of them. My son soundly falls into this category. He has a number of really outstanding starts to a story, but to my knowledge, he's never actually completed an entire tale. I haven't finished reading the entire chapter, so it's probably premature to pass on any advice at this point, but one solid piece of advice is to choose one form (novel, memoir, non-fiction, etc.) and stick to it. While there are some famous exceptions (James Joyce is mentioned), there are very, very few writers who excel in more than one form. It's reasonable to argue that even if you have the talent to master more than one form, you probably shouldn't try to master them all at the same time. Choose one, stick with it, and truly master it, then if you really feel the drive to expand your horizons, go for the second form.

I'll be interested to see what advice she gives for finishing what you begin, though. I think my son could profit for that...

No comments: