Sunday, September 7, 2014

Between Thought and Reality


I'm going to be openly honest with everyone right here, I've had trouble performing. It's true. Lots of toil and straining all leading to disappointment. I asked myself what was the difference; why now and not before? It's because back then I was always talking with someone about.

Yes, keeping everything bubbling inside will lead to writing impotence. It's true! Scenes will begin to dry up. Dialogue will be pushed out awkwardly.  It will be no fun for you or the reader. There is help, it's called socializing, and it will do wonders.

It's magic to talk with someone about your work. When the story is discussed out lout it's a different way of tackling the writing process. Let me break it down.

Anything in your head is origination. Our brains are good at coming up with new ideas all the time. We can be watching television, exercising, taking the dog for a walk, grocery shopping, and all of a sudden a new and awesome thought pops in! That's the power of imagination for ya. The problem is our brains tend to be shit for remembering important details.

When we want specifics we write them down. The act of writing that thought down is literally creating something out of nothing. An idea has no physical characteristics, so it must be made real in some form. Any idea written on paper has traveled from the ether to reality. It is why fundamental writing advice is to have a computer or paper handy to write down those thoughts when they first appear, or else they may end up lost.  This allows us to go back and look at it, touch it up, fix it, scrap it, etc...

Speaking is the halfway point between origination and creation. The medium of putting the idea out there, but not committing it to hard print. We tend to add small details on the spot when telling people anything, and here it allows the writer's creativity to add and change sections of whatever is the focus. 

Schools try and get students to do this all the time. There's a reason why teachers point something out three times or say that reading a chapter aloud will help on the next exam. We remember better by taking an active role in whatever we do. Talking about a story out loud is similar in concept.

What makes this special is the third-party doesn't even have to say anything. And let's be honest for a moment, how many of us trust another person to change anything from our own stories, and that includes editors. The point isn't for the feedback, although that may be wonderful and insightful too. The main goal is to have the origination (thinking) take on a new active role to aid a story. Don't know where to start? Talk it out. A certain plot point troubling you? Talk it out. Writer's block? Talk it out.

This means look for other like-minded writers. Find local writing groups whose company you enjoy. Several genre-specific message boards may do the same thing, but in the comfort of your own home. Pen pals, is this still a thing?  We live in a big and interesting world, discover it.