So, here’s a thing that I can’t tell is real or not: feel. The instinct that what I have just put on paper works. A sense that everything is working properly or that the voices of a character are just right. Sometimes I think it’s a practice issue and other times I’m not so sure.
What I am sure of is that “feel” exists, no matter how much practice you have. That feeling I get when I look at a passage and know, no matter what any one else thinks, no matter what I tinker with, that it works.
Some authors excel at the creative side, while others are bogged down in the minutiae of what is grammatically correct, so much so that it cripples them. In my opinion, JK Rowling is not a great technical writer, but her ability to tell a story and hold her reader is almost unsurpassed.
There’s a scene in Star Trek: the Next Generation where Geordi LaForge and Data are discussing Data’s poetry reading. Geordi informs Data that while his prose may have had technical merit, nothing grabbed him creatively. While Data’s poems were technically precise, they lacked any emotional context, no feel.
I understand that perspective. Of needing to have—and acknowledge a certain level of actual writing skill. Otherwise, we get books like Sigma Force, which may sell well but are painful to read.
The technical aspects of writing don’t bother me. I always believe I’ll be able to fill them in later, either by proof reading or editing or experience. Also, since as an unknown I have no clout, I’ll probably get less sway with my editor.
What do you think? Is creative writing more about instinct and feel or does technical precision count for more? Should the creative writing process favor acumen or flow? And what is the proper balance?