Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ruined For Life

There's something really cool about being stupid.
If you're stupid about things, you can enjoy them as they are, see them through the eyes of an innocent, take them at face value.
Let's look at an example: the Lord of the Rings movies. Aren't they just like WOW when you see them for the first time? Aren't you amazed at how real everything looks, and how in the world did they make actors we all know be as small as Hobbits? The Moria mines, Lothlorien – it looks so REAL!
Didn't you watch with child-like amazement? I know I did. Until I watched the "Making Of".
Now I know how they made Gandalf seem so much larger than Bilbo, and how they create these fairy worlds against a blue backdrop. Those characters didn't really wander through a magical forest or sculpted caves. They were safe and dry in a studio, and computers did the rest.
So when I watch Lord of the Rings now, the wonder is gone, and I hate that. I hate that I watched those stupid documentaries and destroyed the illusion for myself. Those tricks and manipulations, I didn't need to know about them. But now that I do, I can't unthink them.

It's the same with books.
After having written three myself, after having gone through the editing and publishing process with two of them, the innocence of reading – and writing – is gone forever.
What I'm trying to say is, I can't pick up a book anymore and just enjoy it. The editing and critique devil never sleeps now, and it's a very ferocious master.

You introduce NINE characters in the first chapter of you novel? NUH HUH!!!
You TELL the entire back story on the first three pages of your book? PLEASE DON'T!
Your metaphors and comparisons are well-used phrases? BORING!
You use big words just to show your readers you know them? PLEASE!

It's a strange world. Reading has been ruined for me.
Of course, not all of it. But it's so much easier to separate bad writing from good, strained writing from the seemingly effortless ease of elegantly flowing words.
There's this one thing that I've been wondering about for a while now. Are writers incapable of seeing if their writing is good or not? Shouldn't they be able to see it?
Generally, if you've become a writer, you've also always been a reader. Can't a writer tell good stuff from the bad? And if you can see it in the books you read, why can't you see it in your own writing?

I'd really like to hear what you think.