Friday, July 2, 2010
Falling Into The Trap
The worst mistake we writers or actually any creative person can make is by Falling Into The Trap. In a nutshell I want to talk about the Writing Trap, or, a large writing hole that we writers are susceptible to fall into in the successive books that we write. We can fall into this writing trap due to several reasons; overuse of certain types of clichés and stereotypes, use of a similar style of narrative in all the books we write even though the books may not be a part of a series, use of similar settings, use of similar protagonists in all the books, not deviating from the same and often predictable thought patterns and plot twists.
This can be attributed to the fact that once the writers have discovered or stumbled upon a successful formula, they want to use it for all its worth. Perhaps they endorse the view why mess or meddle with something that has worked well. But what they forget is that a certain style the readers may have adored once, may not find takers the second or third time round.
Many times I have felt a strong feeling of Déjà vu when I read the next set of books written by few writers. I get the feeling that I have met the characters before at another time in another place (read in a previous book). Even the setting has no novelty as it’s the same one as the last book written by the author. The problem faced by the main character and the way the conflict has been resolved is something I had guessed halfway ( very often much earlier) through the book.
Its at that time I feel cheated and upset, that the author has fallen into a self made trap and unknowingly and unintentionally sucked us readers into the trap. These writers become predictable, it’s easy for the readers to guess their next move or, the way the plot will now twist and turn.
Today’s generation of readers have several things vying for their limited and often straying attention. And, if the writer has nothing new to offer they are quick to discard the book and the writer.
The only way we can avoid this vicious writing trap is by adopting the mantra of Originality. This will sustain the writer if he or she is in for the long haul. There are several writers who have adopted this approach successfully: Roald Dahl; each book of his was different from the other, for example there was no similarity in any of these books ; George’s Marvellous Medicine, Twits, Mathilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate factory.
Another writer who escaped this trap is J.K Rowling. Though the seven potter books had the same setting of Hogwarts and the same set of characters, each book had something new to offer. There were surprises and shocks in plenty, new entrants who took us completely unawares, several times the plot took unexpected twists that had us readers eager to know what would happen next.
This trait of unpredictability is single handedly responsible for keeping readers hooked and the writer far from the writing trap.
Have you ever felt that a particular writer is falling into the trap? How do you personally manage to avoid the writing trap that we writers can easily fall into? Please share, we all can learn from your experience.