July 09, 2013

Ever Thought You Could Write a Romance Novel Better Than ____?

I was watching Dumbest Stuff on Wheels again (I know, something's seriously wrong with me), and of course it made me think about writing. Not much doesn't. :)

So many people say they got started writing romance when they read a somewhat poorly written one and thought, "I can do better than that." And so they tried. And the result was invariably not better than that.

I wrote a few stories like that, but fortunately a computer crash obliterated them. Trust me, the world is a better place because of it. I wrote them without training, without any of the tools and equipment that belong in a writer's toolbox, without forethought. They were disastrous! Because...

I wrote just like the people on Dumbest Stuff on Wheels. It's how a lot of people write, at least when they're starting out. (And then they self-publish, which is a disaster beyond the scope of this post.)

But what if people read a poorly written novel and thought, "I would never try to do that... without the proper training and equipment."

Do people ever think that? I mean, this post was sparked by a discussion that went: "OMG, how is it legal for them to air a show like this?" "Maybe it'll stop someone from being stupid." "No, it'll encourage stupid people to do stuff they wouldn't have thought of otherwise." "But it's funny." So maybe nobody would ever think that. After all, I may think it now, but I didn't when I started writing.

Maybe we writers actually need that sense of wonder and confidence that goes hand in hand with "I can do better than that." Because all too soon we turn neurotic and paranoid even while pretending to have that famous, possibly mythical, protective coating of thick author skin.

What do you think? Would we be better off with a lot more preparation going into writing, or is it better to jump in armed with just a truckload of enthusiasm? Perhaps more important: What do you think when you watch Dumbest Stuff on Wheels?

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