I took my first creative writing class 18 years ago.
Technically, I guess I did three years of creative writing as a teenager, then majored in the subject for two years in University before dropping out.
It rather leaves me speechless at how creative writing has “modernized” since then. Absolutely no one talks about literary devices, story organization, or how to utilize punctuation. Instead you get an onslaught of articles promising to teach you, “How to write an emotionally manipulative villain”, or, “The best way to avoid burnout” — not to mention, the standard attacks on adjectives, and the word, “said.”
(That’s like painting a picture without using any shades of green and blue. Yes, it can be done, but it’s pointlessly limiting. If the words exist, don’t be afraid to use them.)
The other day it occurred to me that I’ve developed my own style of writing to the point that I could publish a how-to book on it. Then you, too, could be a famous author like me!
Except not really.
Because if there’s one thing I’m really bad at, it’s marketing — which has more to do with popularity than quality does.
And, well, it’s my writing style. Even if I listed everything I do out with bullet points and detailed explanations, you would still never write like I do. Could I even reduce it down succinctly? Is it possible to teach others how to talk to people who aren’t real?
Not to mention, some of my most poignant lessons happened while my husband and I were living out of a car, and that has been a major influence on what I write. You can’t teach that through a book.
I’d much rather encourage people to develop their own process that makes them happy. Ultimately, that’s what writing should be about.
But I’m really starting to think that literary devices need to make a comeback, and someone ought to give that push.