I'm changing as a writer. It happened gradually, but I know it happened because of my interactions with other writers. I've learned what not to do by reading other writers' work that sounds like mine. If it sounds like me, but I still can't get into it, then I know I'm doing something wrong in my own writing. That sounds negative, but really I'm just trying to be honest about the way my own work has grown.
I think the problem was that I was writing just for me. A journal of snippets. That kind of writing is important, but I was writing research, not narrative. I didn't do any of the extra work that was needed to draw the reader in or allow him or her to relate to my story. I didn't even really tell a story. I wrote beautiful, disjointed sentences and didn't bother to connect any of them. Sure, it's important to trust your readers' intelligence and let them connect their own dots, but it's another thing altogether to plop poetry in "narrative" and expect the reader to find a point. Feelings--we've all got lots of them. But feelings don't connect with readers unless they can actually feel them. That's where plot comes in and does the job.
And now I take you back to something I said in October of last year:
I hate to admit it, but I was wrong (by the way, who writes "bits of novels and poetry?"). My 80-year-old self is going to shudder with shame. Youth of a year ago. Anyway, poetry has its place. It's beautiful. But plopping feelings on the page isn't enough. You need to tell a story. Sometimes, you need to spell. things. out. You're not always as clear as you think you are. And plot matters. I'd rather read about a confrontation and glean how someone feels from the way the situation is described.
Am I breaking my own rules by telling, not showing here? Can I consider this blog research to get me out of sharing a concrete example? I do have one, believe me. ;)
P.S. I rode a horse this weekend. LANCE!