Good/Bad Writing

“When talented people write badly, it’s generally for one of two reasons: Either they’re blinded by an idea they feel compelled to prove or they’re driven by an emotion they must express.

When talented people write well, it is generally for this reason: They’re moved by a desire to touch the audience.” 

 Robert McKee

To paraphrase Stephen King, we writers are notoriously bad at understanding our own craft. We have absolutely no idea why some days we write shit, while others we write brilliant first drafts. All we know is to sit at our desks and do our thing.

But I do have to agree with the fact that, even though writing is the most lonely of human experiences, its sole purpose is to make someone else feel less lonely.

Think about it.

Ever read something someone else wrote and felt as if they were describing how you felt? They were putting into words what you knew but couldn’t define yet? That they somehow, through some bizarre mechanism that resembled magic, managed to translate into sentences some hidden and profound depths of your soul?

If that doesn’t kill solitude, then nothing else can.

Being understood… this is what we secretly desire. From friends, from family, from lovers. From someone who’s been dead for two centuries. We want to feel as if someone else has felt what we felt, has thought what we think, has lived a life similar to ours.

The desire to touch the audience… to make people feel… to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. Chaos becomes order, death becomes life.

Within the confines of a few strange symbols we are as free as we’ll ever be. So free, in fact, that we forget, even if for a few moments, of our inescapable destiny of going through life alone.

If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

8 thoughts on “Good/Bad Writing

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