Monday, October 29, 2012

# 14 Trust

I found this tremendous book review at Wordswimmer's blog. The author reviewed a medical book and looked at it for tips on how to be a better writer. This is a novel idea, in my mind's eye. I would never have thought to look at a book on medicine for writing tips. Yet, it works. Beautifully.

"...writing, unlike medicine, isn't a life or death struggle (for most of us, anyway). If you misplace a comma, or describe a character differently in two different scenes, no one is physically hurt or injured... Yet, I think something is broken, even if it's simply the reader's trust in the writer to get things rights."

Since the day I picked up pen with the idea that I might write something, I have always had the urge to keep it right. To make sure that whatever I wrote was truthful, or based on truth, and researched. You've heard me say it over and over again. I believe research is of such paramount worth when writing. 

That little phrase above says it all, for me; finally, in one succinct statement. I have had this sixth sense that I have a duty to my readers to get it right. This sentence confirms it for me. 

I'm sure you've probably had some of the same experiences I've had when reading a book. The story is going along at a great clip, I'm enjoying the characters and the plot, and, without warning, the author writes that it takes the ship an hour to cross a sea that I KNOW takes at least twelve hours to cross. 

When this happens, I sometimes close the book. Put it away. Give it to the local library. The author has lost my trust. How can I believe the rest of the book? I'm speaking of a fiction book. If I ever saw something like this in a non-fiction book, I'd be tempted to write a letter of protest to the publisher.

This goes forward, too. I've said it before, but I think it bears reiteration. Trust must be across the board. Trust must grow as soon as I open my word processor, put pen to my yellow legal pad, or even as I lie in bed thinking about how to start the story that is rushing through my brain. In order to build trust, I must...

1. Trust myself.
2. Trust my Muse.
3. Trust my characters, plot, and venue.
4. Trust my editor.
5. Trust my agent. 
6. Trust my publisher.
7. Trust my readers.

That trust must begin from day one. With the story, with the cover letter, with the contract. I can't begin to stress the importance of trust. I build it. I build it daily. I am covered with it. I breathe it.

Life is trust.


  1. I've been thinking about this lately. I put it slightly differently, probably because trust is a struggle with me. The truth will set me free. Truth in my writing, even in fiction, and truth with myself. It isn't easy. I like you're trust perspective. I've also run across books that stretched my ability to believe, and it takes me out of the story. What's the point in continuing to read? I really need to learn to trust.

  2. Not trusting is a good defense by the body and should be listened to. Trust with wisdom is what I pray for.