Writing Mistakes: Writing a Safe Story – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

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Writing Mistakes: Writing a Safe Story

How many times have you looked at your story and thought, “No, I can’t do that! It’s just too (violent, sadistic, painful, depressing, etc.)”? Hopefully, A LOT!

New writers tend to have the same problem: their first story is often fairly flat and dull. Oh sure, the story may be great and the characters supremely witty, but there’s something lacking. It’s exactly what happened with In the Days, and I think I’ve discovered the problem…

The problem: it was just too safe.

A safe story is one that doesn’t really push the conventions of society. It tells a story that EVERYONE can read and enjoy, and which won’t make people uncomfortable. Writers put out these stories in the hope that they will find lots of people who just want a good read.

But, the truth is that these stories fall flat. There are many stories that are MUCH better than yours, with better plot twists and turns. The only thing that is going to make your story stand out from the rest is when you add your own unique emotions and feelings.

Safe stories are ones with little emotional investment. That doesn’t mean that you don’t love the story, but it means that you have invested very little of your emotions in them. There is very little depth, very little about the story that actually speaks to you, resonates within you. Your story lacks the raw honesty that makes for an amazing tale.

Even if your story is a simple one–think of two people meeting and falling in love–you can add emotional twists and turns that make it a story that many people can relate to. Falling in love is such a complex animal that it’s easy to turn your story into one that has real emotional depth. Instead of playing it safe, push the limits of both your emotions and your creativity.

Don’t be afraid to put something in a story just because it feels “edgy”. Don’t put something in your story just BECAUSE it’s edgy either. Put the story down on paper, and then start putting in all the depth that makes it a really good read. For your story to be a success, there has to be a connection with the reader. Readers don’t connect with plot twists and turns–they connect with emotions, sensations, feelings!

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3 Comments

  1. D. Villa-Smith

    It’s funny that you mention that. My “life’s work” is FULL of raw emotion and challenging situations, because I poured all of my into it.
    My philosophy as a writer: If you’re not putting your heart into it, it’s not worth writing.

  2. “Safe” can sometimes translate to boring. Don’t be afraid to take risks with your writing. If you write to please everyone you probably won’t please anyone!

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