Over the past few days, I've been pondering what aspects go into truly brilliant, creative writing. Of course, there is no magic formula. Several aspects work together to make a great work of fiction. Good writers have some. Great writers have many or all. When I ponder what sets the foundation for an enjoyable and thought-provoking piece of fiction, though, I have one answer...thought.
It seems obvious, but I can't help thinking it's often overlooked. You can immediately tell the difference between a thoughtful author and one who didn't quite think things through. The latter makes you feel, vaguely, as if you might have read this book before. The former makes you say, “Wow! I wish I’d thought of that!”
I first stumbled onto the concept a couple of weeks ago when I read an old review of one of Orson Scott Card's books. The reviewer stated that Card was as always, "…above all, a thinker." What a supreme compliment. Better yet, a reading of one of Card’s works reveals the truth behind it. In my brutally honest moments, I know I’ve never thought deeply enough to come up with ideas like Ender’s Game or the Oversoul from Card’s Homecoming Saga.
That’s not to say you can’t overthink things. Every writer reaches a point at which he needs to gather those threads of thought and start putting them on paper. Otherwise, where is the use in all that thinking? It’s personally gratifying, perhaps, but not all that useful. On the other hand, it’s those stories that I’ve pondered deep and long before writing that shine more brilliantly than the rest.
Thinking. Pondering. Exploring the many aspects of the human condition and ruminating on news ways to present them. It’s a vital part of creativity.
What are your thoughts?