For years my mother sang with the Senior Choir. One of the songs they kept in rotation was Jesus Be A Fence Around Me. Basically the singer is asking for God’s protection in the form of a fence.
Physical fences give a sense of real and sometimes, false security. They are made from a variety of materials and can be plain or ornate. These man-made barriers have a proper place in our lives, but can also become the crutch it was not meant to be.
That brings me to the one fence we have yet to discuss – the invisible fence.
By combining technology and obedience training, a system was developed to keep pets within the confines of their owner’s property without the physical presence of a fence.
In a sense many writers place themselves behind an invisible fence as they succumb to writing only what they are told that the reading public wants. Industry has sold the spin that says that they know best what the reader wants and therefore you (the writer) must conform in order to be marketable.
For years, in order to be accepted we have placed ourselves, our souls, our stories our flavor behind the false security and constraints of the invisible fences designed inside literary board rooms.
By playing it safe we became complacent and our readers have suffered. Lost has been the opportunity to read about the little girl who flew to the moon or taking a journey through starlit skies with a chocolate hued superhero.
We are in an industry built upon expressions born out of our creativity. So then why do we accept those expressions going unwritten or watered down for the sake of compliance?
Fences in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but when we allow them to keep us from moving beyond our own yards, stifle our growth and creativity, we need to revisit the reason why we write. Are we doing so only to be like the others, or will we dare to step away from the norm and give depth, intrigue and the unexpected to the deserving reader?
Developing a novel into something memorable takes dedication and skill. You owe it to yourself and your craft to utilize those tools in order to move beyond the confines of the familiar; that safe haven behind the fence.
Despite the spin, readers are clamoring for more. Because they are I leave you with this:
Fences – are you NOT writing to your full potential behind one?
Until next time be blessed and remember – There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God’s Kingdom!