CRITICAL THINKING CAN BE FRIGHTENING
Realizing that this blog entry will land on the day most commonly known as Halloween, it seems appropriate to demonstrate how frighteningly scary conclusions can be when using the elements of strict critical thinking. I’ve known authors who tell me that they have built all their projects according to “effective critical thinking based on reality.” That statement always intrigues me because it appears to leave no room for the writer’s personal thought processes and creative skills and abilities. So it is that I ask for their definition of the word “reality.” Without exception, they fall back to the dictionary (scientific) definition: Reality is objective and exists independently of our desire, wishes, whims, and motives. Can anyone really write within that framework? The box it creates—in my subjective opinion—is a very constraining and frightening place. Below are several “critical thinking” elements that I hope will FREE every writer to be the most creative they can be.
Appreciate the “realities” known today. As a plot is developed and character “birthed” into the storyline, the creative thinking process benefits from research and the accuracy delivered from “understood reality.” Even the most commonly stated “facts” are viewed through the perspective of writers who, in turn, bend those perspectives toward the viewpoints of their characters. This requires a lot of finesse to make every element in the book believable.
Accepting facts at “face value” creates closed minds and lost opportunities. There is a quote that goes something like this: When I was a child, I thought as a child; now that I’m a man, I must think like a man. REALLY? As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware that people expect me to think (and believe) the widely held opinions of my community (state, country). There seems to be a “comfort zone” in that majority of consensus-thinking and it is an easy path to follow. However, writers are cut from a little different cloth. We need to chew on things a little longer. We need to dig a little deeper and come to our own conclusions—even if they cause a bit of friction or seem frightening to others.
Be not ambiguous! I’ve come to accept that every piece of writing—whether fiction or nonfiction—that comes into my hand causes me to question something. Most often, the question relates to the main topic such as the unknowns of outer space or the intimacy between God and man. If the writer presents the topic with multiple shades of gray, I quickly lose interest and rarely complete reading. However, if the author presents “the truth” (as they see it) I’m intrigued and consider those points for days, months even years to come. Truth withstands debate and brings readers back to read more from a particular author.
Be productive! Writers MUST write. It is literally IN our DNA. We must also slay the self-doubt dragons and the bad attitude-ites. If you’ve never had the thought that “this book is stupid,” or “no one reads this genre anymore,” then you must be very new to the craft. So it is that I offer this strategy: IMMEDIATELY dismiss those feelings and replace them with WORK at the keyboard. TURN your fears to dust and your focus to the topic at hand. Shake hands with your characters and bring their stories to LIFE on the page before you. And when the writing is done—PUBLISH!
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.|