Back in April, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Character and Voice Workshop by Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch. It was an incredible and defining week for my career. I cannot stress enough how awesome this was, and if you ever have the opportunity: run there, run there as fast as you can. It’s taken me this long to blog about, because it’s taken me this long to reassemble my mind from the damn near continuous blowing up of it that week. The wealth of information was just unimaginable. I could blog for a year about that week, but it just wouldn’t be fair—it has to be experienced to be believed.
One of the ideas Dean talked about was dare to be bad; don’t be afraid to suck. And given the amount of work that workshop was: you had no choice but to shut down the part of your brain that worried about sentence flow and story structure and is my character identifiable? I just wrote that week as fast I as possibly could, hoped it made sense, and then started the next assignment.
But a curious thing happened: it didn’t suck (mostly—and believe me, Dean was more than comfortable saying we as a group blew an assignment). But by removing the fear of writing something bad, it removed the impediment to unleashing the author’s voice—that distinctive style that readers fall in love with, that undefinable quality that creates fans and wonderful stories.
I learned many, many things at that workshop. But one of the most important was to trust my instincts and not let my left brain interfere in my stories. So if you’re a writer, dare to be bad, let it loose. The result might surprise you.