“I am convinced fear is the root of all bad writing.”
The above is an excerpt from Stephen King’s On Writing.
What King means when he says this is that when a writer is afraid that the reader won’t fully understand them, they freak out and try to dress up their writing with fancier words and over-punctuation. While having an extensive vocabulary is important, it is possible to drive a piece to the point where it just seems unnatural to the mind’s ear. Where Mr. King is convinced that fear is the root of bad writing, I am convinced that he only half right.
Though I think he has a point, I also believe that the problem is bigger than simple misinterpretation. Bad writers tend to write out of fear. Appalling romances are known to come from writers who fear dying alone. Horrendously extensive autobiographies usually come from people who fear the prospect of being forgotten. Therefore, I think the true root of bad writing is the fear of misinterpretation and crappy plotting.
I am willing to admit that fear has gotten in the way of some of my best writing to date. It has happened to me with school papers, newspapers, even writings I work on for fun.
Currently I’m writing an epic adventure and I find myself getting so wrapped up in the way I word things that I forget to get to the fundamentals of what’s actually happening in the story. Not to mention the fear of what will happen if people don’t like my story. This leads to inappropriately revealing new plot and character developments as well as outright crappy writing.
Even now, this could have been a great post, but I am so amped up on disagreeing with Stephen King and impressing people by going against his On Writing that I am forgetting what it is about his theory I disagree with.
In the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
My name is Lauren The Largemouth Bass and this was an almost intellectual blog post.