Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rants about Writing

I had a number of posts all ready to go, and in trying to decide which to actually use (the rest will go into some limbo where they dig at my back-brain and whisper threats) I started something else entirely.

I found a copy of Ayn Rand's "writing classes." I figured why not? So I started reading it.

It seems (according this self-proclaimed "master") that there is only one way to write--hers. Her way or the highway, and anyone objecting is an idiot. Or a religious zealot, which is a rant for another day. Although she's got a lot of good information, it really irritates me when another author (successful or not) states that my way is by definition wrong.

Supposedly, her own books are the only books out there worth reading. She has some faint praise for a few of the classics, but mostly contempt.

According to Ayn Rand, if you don't consciously think about and plan every word of every sentence of every paragraph you're not a writer. You're just slapping some garbage together and you might get lucky. If you can't point out why you used a particular word, it shouldn't be there. Sure, I know why I used it. Scarlet wasn't the right color, red is too bland and magenta too formal. So I ended up with crimson. And don't get me started on "the."

Everyone is different. Everyone thinks differently, no artist ever paints exactly the same way. No writer ever writes exactly the same way. And somehow, in spite of not being Rand-clones, millions of authors have managed to pump out millions of books that are very well done, even if they're not brilliant by her narrow definition.

I DON'T WRITE THAT WAY, and honestly I hope I never get to the point where I'm dissecting every single word before I allow myself to write it. Spontaneity might be a bad word in Ayn Rand's vocabulary, but not in mine.

And I still manage to write well.

So there!


  1. I hear ya! It sounds like Ayn had quite the big ego in her day. Oh, well.

    Like one of my college profs used to say, "Get into the marketplace and take what you want from it.

    Hopefully, you kicked her ego to the curb and got a little bit from the book.

  2. Depends on which book. :) She had some interesting information on writing (and more specifically, her style of writing). This was supposedly a transcript of someone's notes that were taken during some informal writing classes in her home.

    Atlas Shrugged bored me, and I never even started the other one.