Friday, January 30, 2015

I have a lot to learn...

In fact, I never want to stop learning. And while I believe that the people who are in our lives hold vast amounts of knowledge, I also believe that I don't necessarily need to know it all.

Confused? Let me explain...

Everyone has their own way of interpreting information. Presented with the same exact set of facts, people will interpret those facts in different ways. That's why when there are six eyewitnesses to an accident, six different accounts are given.

I appreciate that everyone has an opinion, especially on a subject which touches their life. I've been known to have an opinion myself, a time or two. Authors are no different. Read an article or a blog written by an author, and you'll be privy to all sorts of information; how to write from a character's POV, whether you should or shouldn't use purple prose, slang usage do's and don'ts. There's a plethora of knowledge within our reach if we're willing to open our minds to it. And herein lies the issue - while I appreciate a person taking their time to pass on what they've learned, I try to keep in mind that their knowledge is just that; theirs. It's the way of writing that works best for them, and their stories.

I remember reading an article once that explained you should never use the phrase "his eyes followed her around the room". The reason being that eyes cannot follow anyone; they are not able to walk around on their own. Their gaze is what can follow a person. For some reason that stuck with me and every time I write about someone's eyes following someone, I am conscious to change it to gaze. Should I? Not necessarily. I think that most readers know what it meant if they read "his eyes followed her around the room". I'm sure they're not envisioning a pair of eyeballs floating unencumbered behind the character.

So did the article I read have any merit? Yes, to the person who wrote it. Is the knowledge useless? No, not at all. The information I gleaned from that article keeps me aware of my word usage every time I write. Waiting for me to get to the point? I guess it's this. Be open to new ideas, to other peoples' ways of doing things. Learn as much as you can about everything. Then, filter out the stuff that YOU can use, and use it! Make your work be the best that it can be. Don't get hung up on whether you're doing it the right way or not, or if you're doing it like someone else.

Learn, filter, then be an original!

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