I recently finished a book, and the first thing I thought when I closed it was “That was a confident book. That must be what it feels like to KNOW you can write.” I had never thought of it in those terms before but once I did I realized I had noticed it in books all along. There are some books that know where they are going and march strongly forward. There are some books that can’t make up their minds to follow plot A or B, or that don’t want to hurt their characters, and so they dither along and hint at a lot of things but don’t do anything. At the end of the book you think NOTHING HAPPENED and feel cheated.
I once posted a piece and received this crit “ There are wonderful flashes and descriptions, but there are also times when your main character doesn't really appear real, as though you haven't fully entered her world, her time period, her person. It is hard for me to feel anything for her, much as I wish to. For the moment, you are watching her instead of _being her_ and until that magic happens, your work isn't credible enough.” Credibility. It’s hard to feel confident in our writing all the time but until we do why should anyone else? Readers know if there is no confidence or credibility in writing, and if there's not the book never rises above mediocre.
Wordplay has a post here about vague writing. After I read this I started to notice some of these things in my writing. The lack of credibility goes right along with vague writing. It’s as if I wanted to give myself an out just in case a reader called me on something when what is needed is decisiveness. I'm fixing a lot of that with this draft and I can tell a difference.
What do you think of confidence in writing?