Monday, July 12, 2010

The Road of Writing

I am going to ignore the fact that I haven't posted for over a month. That point is moot.

I recently read Stephen King's Misery, which is a thought-provoking book if I've ever read one. It's quite different from my usual fare. 'S funny: I love psychological thrillers when they're in movie-form, but I really can't stomach book-psychological thrillers. Perhaps because the written word is simultaneously more raw and more subtle than anything one can do with film.

Perhaps I should explain that.

Writing as an art form--the use of words--is communicative. It's a street, if you will, usually a one-way street, and most of the time ideas and conceptions (not concepts--I use the word "conceptions" on purpose) and tones and shades and colors travel from the author to the reader. And the only leeway that the author can utilize is vocabularic. Of course, there's the typescript niche, but words are words. Voice, in my opinion, matters little: Sherman Alexie has a distinct voice, distinct from that of Lee Child, distinct from that of Robert Frost. Writers who rely solely on their artistic voice to nuance their writing become caricatures of themselves. One author dangerously close to this pitfall is Jeff Shaara.

Does this make sense? Words are blunt by nature. Yet everyone has a different frame of reference; everyone comes at literature differently because no two lives are the same. This difference is what provides the shades and tones and colors for which authors hunger.

Film, on the other hand, is a much more middle-of-the-road medium. I'm not a film student, but in my experience natural subtlety is rare in film. Usually when a filmmaker tries to be clever/sensitive, it comes off as studied. Which sorta defeats the purpose.

Now, this was supposed to be one post, and it was originally called "Popular Writing vs. Meaningful Writing", and I was going to talk all about Stephen King and how people rip on him. But I'll talk about that in my next post.

Long live vagueness!

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