Thursday, April 10, 2014

I = Ignorance Is NOT Bliss


“I don’t want to know.” 

“I’m better off not knowing.” 

This may actually apply in some circumstances; e.g., if there’s a meteor hurtling toward your town, and you’re in your basement, folding laundry. Why experience those final moments of terror? Ignorance is preferred in this case, because suddenly experiencing death by meteorite is probably better than knowing it’s coming and waiting for it with a large towel over your head.

That’s probably the only time I can think of that it would be better not to have all the available information. Certainly, when writing a book, ignorance can result in the exact opposite of bliss. If you don’t know your craft, you need to learn it before deciding to write the Great American Novel. If you don’t know enough to capitalize the word “I” or proper names, if you can’t tell a noun from a verb, if you don’t know that each speaker change gets a new paragraph, if you . . . *shudder* . . . don’t know “to” from “too,” then no. Ignorance is the worst kind of hell, for your readers if no one else.


And if someone who does know offers to enlighten you? Take it. Become a sponge and absorb all the helpful information you can. Don’t presume to tell the helpful person you’d rather do it your way, when it’s obvious your way is wrong. It’s hard enough for someone to offer advice when they know feelings may be hurt; accept it for the loving gesture it is.

40 comments:

  1. I definitely agree with you about being ignorant of the meteor, though knowing might save you from folding the laundry.... In almost any other circumstance, though, knowlege is definitely power.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm all over anything that will spare me from the laundry!

      Delete
  2. "Yes, grasshopper. Of all things, to live in darkness must be the worst, but through learning their is light." Lynda, I think you may be the Master Po of bloggers. This grasshopper will await lesson J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm honored, Donn. "Those who surrender themselves find inner strength." I hope lesson J is as strengthening for you.

      Yes, I'm geek enough that I had to look up a Master Po quote for my reply. ;)

      Delete
  3. Excellent advice! And you know, even when you (at least me!) think you know what you're doing, you (I) make the silliest mistakes. I once did an entire manuscript with every single your spelled you're...I knew better, but brain farts happen and you need a wise, trusty friend to point it out. They are doing you (me) the biggest favor!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done the same thing, even when I think I'm being careful or attentive. It really is a relief when someone says, "Um...you need to fix this," and I think, "Thank goodness nobody else saw that!"

      Delete
  4. I like that you point out that offering advice is a loving gesture. It certainly is.
    Nice post@
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have always seen it in that way. I love them enough to want others to see them at their best, and am willing to risk their irritation.

      Delete
  5. Alas, some people revel in their ignorance... and will quickly tell you, "It don't matter." Augh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, the revelers. I'm sure I have a post or two directed their way by the time I get to Z. I have a low level of tolerance for those who remain willfully ignorant.

      I once had a family member who wrote a bunch of creative, rhyming children's books, and she asked me for my thoughts on them as she wrote. I gave her my honest thoughts: they were very clever and fun, but needed a little tweaking because some of the rhymes were forced and some of the grammar was completely incorrect, etc. She proceeded to tell me those things were "the author's prerogative" and refused to change anything. Her desire for only "yes" men surrounding her killed any sales she could have had, and my parents were upset with me for years for not recommending her work to my homeschooling friends. I just could not do it. They could have been good, too.

      Delete
  6. I agree, I love Indigo and get very annoyed when people settle for just purple. Okay your turn, go leave some Haiku on my comments LOL. Another parallel day in blog topics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indigo is much pleasant color for images.

      I had a haiku ready and then saw your post mirrored mine (brain thief, you!) so now I have to come up with another one. :) Go and leave your spam on SK's page while I think.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Raymond. Ignoring Indigo just to settle for purple is blasphemy! It does go to show that ignorance can be blissful when accepted as such. o_o

      Anyway, this kind of fits the whole "write what you know" business, as long as what we "know" is correct whether its through research or a caring friend. Basically whatever you said, I agree! ;)

      And FYI: I would definitely have a large towel over my head if I knew a meteorite was coming my way while folding laundry...

      Also, I love this devious plan you two created with our weird comments lol

      Delete
    3. And lo, S.K., when I beheld your scribblings upon my page, I thought thus: What is this dispute of the indigo hue? Far, far bliss from me, as is apparent from just a glance at my downcast countenance.

      Place thy linens upon thine own crown as we await the destruction from the heavens, dear friend. I shall join you shortly.

      Delete
  7. It's best not to be ignorant about your writing craft, job, or important political developments!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES, a thousand times yes! People who say, "I didn't know..." when they could have known without much effort drive me crazy. (As if I need to be driven farther...)

      Delete
  8. People often tell me, I write the way I talk. That's fine for informal writing, but it makes for confusing books.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely write the way I talk: Tangent upon tangent with numerous interjections. I also expect people to know when to raise their eyebrows or gesture with their hands when reading what I've written.

      However, I'm also not trying to sell what I've written. I'd remove the eyebrow action if that were the case.

      Delete
  9. That's right - never turn down a good teacher!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well...*blushing*...I don't want to brag, but...

      Oh, you meant other people. Yeah, I guess they can be helpful, too.

      Delete
  10. ignorance definitely shows in writing. It's my biggest fear! I feel the need to research everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good that you do the research. If you don't, you're bound to have a reader who knows where you went wrong, and they'll call you on it in a heartbeat. You should read "I is for Investigate" on writinginadeadworld.com today. It deals with this very thing.

      Delete
  11. Very great advice! I see ignorance get in the way of submissions a lot (mostly not reading submission guidelines and knowing what a literary agent is actually for). But if the world was about to end, I'm pretty sure I would be happy to be ignorant about that :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point about submission guidelines! Kind of like trying to build something from IKEA without reading the directions.

      Most of us agree about the meteorite—except my eighteen-year-old son, who said he wouldn't mind knowing about the meteorite if it got him out of folding the rest of the laundry.

      Delete
  12. Quite true. Ignorance is not bliss for the writer or the reader, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! It's really a no-win all around, isn't it?

      Delete
  13. Great advice! I've given your blog a shout out from my letter J post today. http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thank you! I appreciate that. You fit right in with my letter "H" post. In fact, your entire blog is great about helping to promote others, and that's pretty cool.

      I hope you're enjoying the A to Z month so far. :)

      Delete
  14. When people gets ignorant they realize the reason and change themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We hope so. That's the goal, anyway.

      Delete
  15. Sometimes I think ignorance really is bliss but its just a defense tactic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind of like pulling the blankets up over your head and pretending no one can see you. ;)

      Delete
  16. As a reader as well as a writer, I soak up as much information as I can and that includes writing information. It's a continuing learning craft!

    Dropping by from the A to Z challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm right there with you. You can never learn too many things. Some of the people I admire most are the ones who are continually teaching themselves things.

      I'm following your blog now, by the way. I've been enjoying your A to Z posts.

      Delete
  17. You're right. One of the bests parts about writing is learning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nana, I wish more writers realized that. If only the newer writers could learn from the advice (and mistakes) of the seasoned veterans without having to go through those same things on their own...

      Delete
  18. This is such sound advice. Your posts are choc-full of writing gems!
    But in life, you get the "know-it-alls"...
    But for me, it is a never-ending learning process... the journey never ends... I'll be learning till the day I die.
    Thanks for visiting my place and leaving such wonderful comments!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've dealt with the know-it-alls (my kids would say I claim to be one, but they, of course, should never be believed unless they're telling people I'm wonderful).

      I try to absorb all the knowledge I can, whenever possible. You never know when all those tidbits will come in handy.

      I appreciate the visit! I've been getting such a kick out of your book captioning.

      Delete
  19. Ignorance is not bliss? Tell that to the people who read Captain Smegma and the Tranny from the Sewer of Sorrows. I know, they talk a lot about poking their eyes out and things like that, but I think it's just jealousy talking. They can't match the sheer genius...

    https://amsterdamassassin.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/warning-immature-content/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm telling myself that. Right. Now.

      Of course we're jealous. Who wouldn't be?

      Delete

I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog.