Experience; or a lack thereof

I please to write, dear Reader, about a certain character about to go for a swim in the vast expanse of sea that lays before him. I aim to explain, in minute detail, the ritual he undergoes before submerging himself into water; this i can accomplish with somewhat ease. What I struggle with, my Reader, is how I begin to describe the strenuous task of swimming – strenuous here implies not the very act of swimming but my writing of it so vivid and descriptive as to make you, the Reader, aware of the water slapping against your warm skin, gurgling in your ears all the while you read that which is indited upon the paper whilst sitting cozy in your armchair or laying sideways on your bed.

I, my dearest Reader, have visualized the sun setting in the distant horizon as our character takes a dip into the sea. This character possesses a certain trait of dominance, of achievement that influences his senses in such a way that it spills over to his greed for consuming nature and all that lies in its path. As I make the character stand on the edge of the shore, the waves splashing bits of seaweed and sand on his feet, the sword like reflection of the dying sun is cast upon the ever turbulent surface of the sea, a reflection that traces into our characters mind as something tangible, attainable and with this very intention does he lower his body into the sea towards the direction of the waning sun which is now moments away from disappearing into the chasm of unknown.

I now come to the point which is understated in the title, the lack of experience which makes me cautious of my writing. The character, dear Reader, aims to grab hold of the golden sword that lays before him, wave upon wave, and here I present the conundrum – does the reflection remain so behind my character as he swims onward or does it disappear in the trail of small water waves in rapid motion, motion made possible by my characters constant swaying to and fro in the water. You see, kind Reader, I myself have never gone swimming, and hence know not what happens to the reflections of the sun in water, how the waves play with the shadows; once you’ve gained a fair amount of distance into the sea and your line of sight still lays ahead of you to estimate where to swim to, what wave to let carry you, does the reflection of the sun still glimmer behind you or does it get lost in the shadows cast by the water?

As you might have judged by now, this particular piece of factual information is an utmost necessity for me to continue writing the character for without it I may not be able to ascertain the specific trait; the character would be utterly lost without a realistic portrayal not only in regards to characterization but to the surroundings too. And what is a character lost but a mere reflection of a lost writer. My inadequacy in life to have experienced a simple act, in this case that of swimming, makes me an unreliable source from which a character should spring up, lest an intelligent reader like yourself quickly take notice and damn the writer and the book, both, to hell.

Now that I’ve confided in you, dearest Reader, of my inadequacy in handling what appears to be a simple problem, will you ever forgive such a mistake if it ever happens to cross your eyes, makes you sigh at the talent-less attempt of making a character so real that it loses its sense of reality in reference to you and becomes just another “device” in a book or worse: a gimmick. Would then a thought regarding that what you’ve just read, cross your mind, and instead of going for another book, you pick this one up again, and with a slight smile let go of the writers inexcusable fault; “all is forgiven”; and resume reading?


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