I had this brilliant (for me) idea last week to check every scene for passages of prose to see where they could be turned into dialogue.
What a can of worms I’ve opened! I had no idea how much descriptive stuff and ‘telling instead of showing’ I’d written, that truly needs handing over to my characters.
And on top of that, I haven’t mentioned that since about 6 months ago, I am no longer writing the book I set out to write. That’s because about 6 months ago I found the book’s theme. At that point, I knew why I had been ‘called’ to write this book (whether by my psyche or a higher dimension is another topic for discussion and probably not by me).
In discovering the theme, I also discovered a bit about what drives and motivates me to do any of the activities that interest me. Whatever my project of the day: art, writing, walking, singing, gardening even, what motivates me, I realised, is the need to explore. Not only that, but explore edges. (I suppose all exploration is about edges, frontiers).
I walk to find new horizons, cross over into new lands. Terra incognita. I make art that explores interior lands. I sing (and I’m taking lessons again) to see what vocal horizons I can reach. Even my enthusiasm for gardening is really about looking for artefacts – horizons of the past. Writing is the same and my main character is edgy. The book’s a mystery & suspense, but it’s really about the edges.
So writing this book has taken me some years and some money to get it to this stage, where I know it is themed and what that theme is. It has had to have been a journey into me. Without being narcissistic I hope.
A journey into my interior with the aid of the exterior. Maybe to make art of any kind, you have to develop a strong sense of self. I haven’t had that. I do have the gift of curiosity which has led me to explore. Sometimes, like the cat, it has killed me. So I am writing a whole new book. From the book I’ve written. That’s okay.
Recently, a new acquaintance told me that he’d tried to write a book, but discovered that he didn’t have a book in him. I don’t believe that. I believe everybody has a book in him. I believe if you have the impulse to write, you have a book in you that’s been waiting for the right time to alert you to itself.
I believe if you start a book and give up, you’ve done just that. It’s not that you don’t have a book in you, it’s that you’ve hit a wall and aren’t prepared to stick with it right to the end, no matter what it takes. Of course, you might die before you finish it but that’s the only legitimate excuse for not finishing a book once you’ve started to write it. That you die first. You get hit by a bus. Murdered. Catch a deadly virus. Catch old age. Even death may be an obstacle that can be overcome. You can finish it next lifetime! Maybe we begin the books we are writing even more than one lifetime ago!
The end of the book is the horizon you’re walking towards. It’s an adventure! You’re writing towards a new horizon! Life will never be the same again. Over the horizon is a new land awaiting and you’ll have to make a new (poetic) map.
Okay so you come to this huge mountain in your writing walk. It’s got a facade as smooth as glass and as hard as flint and you’ve no rope or other tools to scale it. You act like an ape and make the tools. You pick up a bone and rub it on a stone until it’s fashioned into a pick and you tear up your tent and make a rope. And you start the climb. (Not sure what you’d do with the rope mind you, but all mountaineers seem to have them in the movies)!
Of course I’m only really talking about – and to – myself here. I have no right to give advice. Don’t fall off a mountain on my account!
- Take Writing Advice With A Grain Of Salt by Nicole Basaraba (aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com)
- Reading: the school of writing (nowrittenwords.wordpress.com)
- Important Theme, Poor Execution (samcivy.wordpress.com)
- Why I Don’t Write Anymore (writinghood.com)
- The Silent Dialogue (swedishmaggie.wordpress.com)
- Three Fiction Writing tips from famous authors (rebeccaberto.wordpress.com)
- Rivi… Rive… Revision (Or, How to Love the Red Pen) (omnivoracious.com)
- Q&A: Screenwriter Chris McCoy, Part 5 (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Tap into Life Changing Moments to Bring Your Fiction to Life (saratoolemiller.wordpress.com)
- AWW Feature: How To Speak In A Book by Paddy O’Reilly (bookdout.wordpress.com)