Don’t Be A Wuss, Mark Clements pushes comfort zones


Anybody who’s read his fiction knows that Mark Clements is no wuss, but he thinks most amateur writers are at risk of wussiness, especially when they write about sex and violence. “Amateur writers usually stop short. We almost never go too far. Raise your expectations. Your brain is lazy.”

He speaks of finding maximum impact in every scene. Don’t avoid details because you don’t like them. Storytellers are supposed to go further than observers could imagine without our help. “If you are afraid to have your characters go down a particular hallway, they probably should. It’s not your job to water stuff down or to write to the lowest common denominator,” he contends. And he encourages detail. “Once you let yourself write an explicit scene, make sure it is detailed. These scenes really are about the details.”

And for whom are you writing? Mark won me over when he told a roomful of aspiring writers to shift the focus from potential readers to themselves. “Your readership, at first, consists of one person: you. Satisfy yourself first.” And how do we satisfy ourselves? “The satisfaction you get from writing is based on how honest you are.”

Damn, I wish I has said that.

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  1. Thanks for the “like,” Dave! I think Mr. Clements is pretty smart too.

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