Narrative Craft Monday!! Caution, this blog can be habit-forming
“I want hard stories, I demand them from myself. Hard stories are worth the difficulty. It seems to me the only way I have forgiven anything, understood anything, is through that process of opening up to my own terror and pain and reexamining it, re-creating it in the story, and making it something different, making it meaningful – even if the meaning is only in the act of telling.” – DOROTHY ALLISON
Dorothy Allisons strives to tell “the emotional truth of people’s lives, not necessarily the historical truth.”
I have a lot of experience with the writing process. Then one day I put down my pen and declared “Never Again.” Two years later, I pick the pieces up, realizing that I am nothing without my pen. Creation of a character, the pores of atmosphere, the cause of action or delay in action – this facilitates purpose.
This blog provides me a file cabinent of storage room to write about what I experience, except the Pulitzer Prize winning novel is not going to describe a cathargic hippie. (OR will TRIM be that book? lol.) What I’m trying to get at is it’s not about the arbituary experiences that sum up moments, but about the actions that sum up the moment that changed your life forever.
It’s great exercize to write about what you know – but some writers fear this advice limits your imagination. Having suffered from a severe case of writer’s bloc, writing about personal experiences can be uplifting and theraputic. (Check that out on Poets & Writers, search “Writing therapy.”) It’s useful to keep a blog or a journal where you can record daily observations. I think your journal would be best kept in first person, it’s an honest light to write from. When you go to write about something that’s already happened, keep it to 100 word minimum. In essense, what have you summarized? A boring trip to the mall, or did you discover something that you really care about, like Rue 21’s spiked heels. Don’t they speak about performing your sexuality in this 21st centuary?
“Forget Inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” OCTAVIA BUTLER
Every character has motives. When you write about yourself, you’re motions are sparked by your Emotions. What do you want? What makes you sad? What changed you?
To my readers who are trying to get a leg up on the fiction pedestal, try this great exercize a few times this week:
We’re going to take a little seed and plant it in the ground. Take an experience from one of the following and write a passage about it. Then write one page of a story.
– an early memory — an unfounded fear — a scar — a bad haircut — a lawless night — yesterday — a sudden change in a relationship — the loss of a small object — an experience you don’t fully understand
Did you write something? I’d love to read what you wrote, just imagine me as like, an editor friend to give you practical wisdom on the narrative craft. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves, and if writing makes you happy, please share. Like the page. And keep updated for posts, especially on Monday’s, where I’ll share exclusive tips on the narrative craft.
Thanks for reading! love always, S.S.