Technical writers make for the worst fiction writers. If you know how technical writers work, you’d think that they would make the best fiction writers. There is a trained eye for detail, context, and surrounding.
Yet, they don’t write good fiction.
I am not a technical writer (I used to be, a long time ago). And I should stop writing fiction. The last few attempts at fiction, by way of feedback (or lack of it) have been obvious disasters. This isn’t comment-bait. I am not asking that you pity this post and like or otherwise acknowledge the attempted fiction writing. You should never be wasting your time on things that don’t make sense.
It’s just that I feel writing about your everyday environment makes much more sense and is less laborious. Writing what you see is much simpler. There is no appeal to any specific emotion; it is what it is.
I bought a week-load of vegetables after a walk that was meant to silence the chaos. Apart from spilling that chaos all over the streets in my neighbourhood, I am not sure what I achieved. Just as I finished paying for the veggies, it started raining. Everybody in India loves a good monsoon. It rains promises along with the drops. Better crop and such, we think, but inflation is the sun’s cousin, it rises, everyday without fail. In Mumbai, we don’t care much about the inflation; as long as the lakes are overflowing by mid-September, we pretty much don’t care about anything.
Carrying an umbrella in late-September in Mumbai is a sign of weakness, so I don’t. Obviously! Standing in a shop’s shelter, is the lower sign of carrying an umbrella. It must be the last shower of the season, I think let’s get wet, and so I leave the vegetable vendor. It’s raining hard, I stop to pick up my cigarettes. He knows me very well, we’ve been transacting tobacco for a decade. He looks up to me, confirms that I am completely drenched, unlike the other two customers who are weak and carrying umbrellas.
He attends to them first.
If I am already wet to my bone, more water won’t harm me anymore. He chooses to serve the tottering umbrella-bearers. I wonder if I should make a case and identify me as the more deserving of prompt service, since I lack the umbrella that I have consciously avoided (he doesn’t know that!). I let go, for almost the same reasons that, I think, he decided to serve those shivering smokers.
Also, it suits you if you are a technical writer by training. The structure, rules, and constraints become your friend and guide. It’s easier to obsess over the placement of a comma rather than whether the character is displaying consistent behaviour.
We are better off being who we are than who we want to be.