Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for... Paradox

Today's blog is the letter P.

Writers often use a paradox to convey the deeper truth of a seemingly contradictory proposition. Examples of this reside in the following:

"I know one thing.. that I know nothing."
"In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."
“All generalizations are false, including this one.” 
and finally...
"Love is a battlefield."
Paradox:  Noun
  • A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. 
  • A self-contradictory and false proposition. 
  • Any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature. 
  • An opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.
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Now, with that background.. I propose that writers themselves live in a paradoxical world. It may not seem obvious to some why I say that writers live in a paradoxical world.. so I'll give a few examples of what I'm referring to.


  • First.. writers are told to to 'write what is in our hearts'.. to embrace the truth within and to make that truth sing with our words.
    • Then we're unable to find representation and told to be more focused on a particular genre, and to look at what is currently being published and to write with that in mind.
  • Then.. writers are told to 'write what you know'.. to look at your life and write from you position of strength.. 'If you're a plumber and you want to write about Space Travel, then be a plumber on a Space ship' says Stephen King.. (paraphrasing)
    • Then we're told that our works aren't marketable, that our 'position of strength' isn't interesting. Plus, how can you write Epic Fantasy, or Horror if you don't 'know' it? Who has seen a monster, or an alien, or a Wizarding Boy?
  • Then we're told 2 things you have to do as a writer.. you have to write a lot, and you have to read a lot. You have to write every day because with repetition comes better writing. Then we're told to read a lot of books.  "Read, read, and read some more".. I've heard that from nearly every author I've ever heard speak. "You have to read to know what you want to write, you have to read to recognize good writing from poor.".. it goes on and on..
    • Yet how can you immerse yourself in writing your world when you're spending time each day reading about someone else's world? I've found this to be impossible for myself.. I simply cannot read any other book while writing my own. If I do then my time is spent thinking about THEIR world and not MINE.. which makes writing impossible.
  • Finally we're told that the only thing that will improve our writing is to write.. that writing is like taking up a new sport and that the only way to improve is practice, practice, practice.
    • Then we're told that writers can't be made, that you're either born with the ability to write.. or you're not, and that the only way to improve is by copious amounts of writing. If that's true, then what good are writing books, seminars, conferences, University Classes... all the sources of the statement that 'writers are born, not made'.. so if they're of no consequence, and they're the origin of the thought that only writing improves writing.. then doesn't that negate itself?

So.. anyway.. I'm certain that you'll all find this post interesting and informational..



... I mean.. I am certainly full of doubt that this post is of any value... errr.. I mean I'm not certain at all, I'm just full of doubt that this will have any value, I am overwhelmed with doubt.. yeah that's what I meant.    :-/




3 comments:

  1. Great post. I guess I should be spending more time writing than I am reading what you are writing. lol. Visiting from the A to Z Challenge. Shall I focus on what I know or what I love? I shall positively plunder along an undetermined path.

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  2. Writers as paradoxes. Awesome. I've never thought of that before!

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  3. There is a lot of advice that seems to contradict, so I tend to just ignore it and do what I want ^_^

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