How much craft does a writer need to learn before they start to write? Should you learn deep craft techniques or just write?
One Saturday afternoon when I should have been doing chores, I fell down the rabbit hole of reaction videos. Various experts (see below) play a music video, supposedly for the first time, and react to what they are hearing. Without fail, they go into great detail about all sorts of techniques the musician is using.
I don’t understand the lingo of these experts: “his consonants have SO much inner rhythm.” Huh? I’m fully willing to accept that they know what they are talking about and everything they say is correct.
But that isn’t the point of this article.
I would bet a LOT of money that the artists had no clue about the techniques these reaction videos are talking about. I would bet that it was far more instinctive. The singer didn’t think about putting inner rhythm in their consonants, they sang it the way that felt right to them.
I’m sure some musicians can talk in great detail about technique, but not many of them to the level these reaction videos go.
They didn’t worry about the “right way”. They didn’t worry about extreme techniques. They sang it the way it the song needed to be sung.
Writers should do the same thing. Sure, we should always learn and work to get better. Learning and, just as important, practicing improves the instinct. It adds to your toolkit. What also adds to your toolkit is reading a lot. Musicians listen to lots of music, noting what they like and picking up on new things.
Read lots. Learn and practice new techniques. Then forget them when writing your next story and let your instincts take over.
For the record, I doubt there will ever be reaction videos for writers. Sigh.