When I look through a dictionary or glossary of terminology, I am left amused by the exhaustive store of terminology, definitions and classifications. I think if I were to be tutored to create according to a structured system of definitions and their corresponding patterns, I’d be left too numbstruck to even begin. A parallel scenario would be that of ‘analysis paralysis’.
Writing did not come to me this way. I read almost anything I could lay my hands on. I could sense the techniques and presentation of concepts inherent in those works without having to pore over their names. In many cases, they had no names because I enjoyed numerous works without any accompanying commentary. I loved word play, I loved the effects of built up expectation and even utter surrender to whatever outcome it may be. What I don’t enjoy is confusion and arrested tempo that interferes with the flow of the story and ultimately the level of enjoyment from the point of view of the audience.
I did not learn to compose prose or poetry by combing through exhaustive studies of plot summaries, chapter studies or poetry appreciation. Even though I had formal training at some point in life during my teens, it was by no means comprehensive of every genre. There was no need to tutor me closely on how to comb through a piece of writing. I knew just from selected examples. If one had a reasonable vocabulary and an acute sensibility of textual nuances, a text study is feasible.
However text study and composition do not come hand in hand. There are those who can drive a fine toothcomb over every work but cannot compose their own works if granted the chances to do so. A critic, well acquainted with terminology, well placed quotations and references may not necessarily be the best composer. The best composer may not be the most competent person to elucidate every principle employed.
When it comes to composition, the most vital is to do. Trust your own judgement, spontaneity and instinct when composing. Be your firmest critic when checking over.
When writing I just do so. In turn I gravitated towards what I liked, what impacted most in my consciousness and I kept those elements in my works.
For fiction, I prefer a visual and witty kind of approach. I see the comic or motion picture in my mind. It then comes to life. If it looks like a play or screenplay, it doesn’t make it lesser than a novel or other literary work. Humour is a different kind of beast. It requires appropriate setting, word choice, build up and release.
For non fiction, whatever comes to mind is presented in a logical manner. I try to balance wit, reality, concepts, life experiences with succinct observation. Not necessarily all at once or in that said order.
So, going strictly by the book, adhering to every literary classification can be off putting and restrictive when the aim of composition is to allow lots of room for creativity, freedom and discovery. With positive effort, minimal interference or the total absence of interference altogether, something will come out of it.