A Quick Confession of a Creative Writer

I went out of my comfort zone this November deciding to write a children's fairy tale based off some stories I've made up for my kids rather than do another supernatural horror novel. It has been a challenge getting the tone and dialogue right, since it is being written for a drastically different audience. But it is probably the most fun that I've had writing a story in a long time. It has been such a pleasure that I may try a few more children's novels, and shop this one around to agents in 2023. I never wanted to be labelled a children's writer despite many friends and family encouraging me that it would play to my strengths and imagination.

My story is very much like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland as a young girl finds herself in a dream-like, surreal, and fantastic world. It has talking animals that wear clothes, trees that carry on conversation, cotton candy grows like it is a fruit, roads that play music when you walk on them, and even a character who is sleeping on a giant bed on the middle of the path. It is all wacky and crazy, but I've been having fun coming up with new and bizarre things to fill the world.

But you know what I have failed at doing?

I haven't really landed any well thought-out world building. My world has no rules yet. Things just do things for the sake of having something entertaining. I haven't worked out the logistics, which means I have numerous contradictions in the story.

The more that I have done creative writing and especially the longer that I've been a film critic, the stronger I've stood on not really caring that much about plot holes. Or worrying too much about if a story actually stands up to intricate scrutiny when it comes to logistics and world-building. I know that The Movie Breakdown has in the past been critical of movies that just have scenes and moments that look cool even though they make very little sense. I get that criticism, but I also care about it less and less.

Storytelling isn't reality. Its job is not to reflect things that can actually happen. It is about entertaining. Yes, part of that involves immersion, and it can be hard to enter a world if it feels scattered with glaring plot holes. But I often believe that if a story is compelling enough, and if the reader or viewer care enough about the characters that they aren't paying attention to the plot holes and contradictions. Those things usually don't get pointed out until the entertainment is over, and people have extra time to post stuff on Reddit.

Obviously, I do want to clean up this novel before I even think about shopping it to agents. It is a first draft. That means it is an utter mess. I'll try to do a better job on figuring out the 'reality' of this word on my second run-through the novel. At that point, it will hopefully have far less glaring plot holes and contradictions.

If it still ends up having quite a few, even when it eventually gets published, I don't really care. I've learned more and more that such things are not what really matters when it comes to an engaging and great story.