Man, I'm kind of bristly, today. Sorry. No, I'm not!
I'm of the belief that everyone who comes up with a story has something amazing sitting in their head. It doesn't really matter how complex or detailed that story might be; if someone has put at least a half-assed effort into creating it, and they are any manner of excited about it, then I have no doubt that it's incredible, and should be shared with everybody.
Stories are awesome in their primordial, raw form. I'm talking about that undulating, juicy ball that first rolls out of our internal creative matrices. It's more a feeling than a sequence of events...not so much a sophisticated web of characters and plot, but rather the emotional impact of such. If others could experience it in its purest incarnation, everyone would be infected by it and utterly subservient to the rolling mountain of its will.
Yet, there are a bajillion books written every year, and quite a few of them fall far short of their potential, in my opinion. I realize I'm saying this as a guy who's embarking on a first effort that is, as-yet, unproven, and that I could join the very ranks I'm talking about. Still, I think I understand the reason for awesome stories that ultimately emerge as mediocre books.
So what's the explanation? Why exactly do a lot of those stories fall into the suck-bucket?
I think it's the translation. If any message is translated poorly, then the essence is lost. We are forced to use this crude medium, the very one that you are absorbing as you read these words, to define and describe the soul of something that it has no chance to express with 100% efficiency. Maybe the very best novels are written to...what...85% efficiency of that original essence? Maybe 90% at the very best? Meanwhile, I suspect that even most moderately successful books float around the market, somewhere in the 40% or 50% range if they're lucky. I'm not saying they're crappy, really, just that they aren't as high of a percentage of that thing that lives inside the head of their creator as they could have been.
One day, I'm going to invent a neural interface that transfers 100% of the primordial form of a story over, make a billion dollars, and put every metaphor-loving, language-using author out of business. Until that glorious day comes, I guess I'll be content to shoot word-bullets at feely-targets like everyone else.
I sound like I'm disparaging language. I don't feel that way. Language is a beautiful tool, and wielding it is a stimulating, enthralling puzzle that we should keep twisting to push that efficiency metric up as high as we possibly can...to chase that horizon.
See what you did? You got me all contemplative. Don't you dare do that again, you hear? I have stuff to do.
Back to work.
P.S. Do you guys think it's possible to practice running backward so much that you can get better at it than running forward?