Wednesday, 21 October 2009

"Why do I Write?"

Whilst working on a novel writing becomes a job. Although still a pleasure, I find myself losing touch with the simple joy of writing for writings sake. That’s not to say that I have stopped writing in my journal, scribbling down ideas and writing (bad) poetry – I still do this, but just not as much.
Recently I realised it had been a while since I’d just sat with a notebook and written about something like the musical quality of the stream that runs past the bottom of my garden or written a story with no other purpose in mind than to amuse myself.

This realisation encouraged me to remember why I write. I clearly have a passion to write books that people will enjoy reading. But what of all the other reasons I write? What drives me to put pen to paper over and over again? Why do I write? Well here are some of my answers to this question:

Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a self-indulgent journal entry; writing helps me make sense of life. Putting into words a special moment or glorious sight makes these things real and becomes a scrapbook of life.

I’m fascinated by people and relationships. It’s exciting to illustrate in words the beautiful complexity of human interaction and personalities through the creation of fictional characters.

I crave the infinite possibilities I can create using just a pen and my imagination. This provides me with hours of endless fun and escapism. It also allows me to try living many lives and experiences without physical or practical restrictions. It gives me even greater joy to share these experiences and characters with other people.

As well as a playground for my imagination, through writing, I find I discover learn and explore ideas in a way that I can’t do in my mind bogged down as it is with the noisy chaos of living. It provides a forum for my lifetime need to question ‘why?’

Story is my obsession. Whether I’m writing reading or telling, I use story to frame my every experience and journey through life.

On a basic level that I still can’t understand: I need to write. I crave writing. Writing defines who I am and when I’m not writing I feel unhappy.

There are many articles on the internet on the subject of why writers write.

George Orwell wrote the famous essay ‘Why I Write’. The Guardian has interviewed many writers in a regular feature with the title ‘Why I Write’ and it’s interesting to discover various reasons and explanations. On his website Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ answers this question. A short but interesting answer was written by writer Bernard Maclaverty. But one of my favourite articles, and the one I’d recommend, details Stephanie Calman’s (author of ‘How not to Murder Your Mother’) reflections on her own motivations to write.

Why do you write?


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

That old chestnut: Show not tell! (and living with my inner critic)

I've been busy editing and fairly pleased with my progress. But yesterday I was going through a couple of chapters that displayed a terrific amount of 'telling' and not nearly enough 'showing'.
Had I regressed? Had I learnt nothing?
Trying not to panic I busily scribbled all over my 1st draft , made extra notes and took shaky deep breaths.
Yet my inner critic taunted me with:
'well you obviously haven't learnt anything'
and 'fancy making such rudimentary mistakes'.
And 'blah, blah,'re kidding yourself if you think you can write...blah blah."
If you've an inner critic like mine you can fill in the blanks. If you haven't got one of these inner bullies then I congratulate you (and wish I was you).
After my initial biting of fingernails I decided to google some 'show not tell' writing advice.
I found some reasonable advice but I was still worried that I had so easily forgotten these basics when writing my first draft.
I was finally comforted by an excellent article by science fiction writer Robert J Sawyer. He explains that in a first draft he does a lot more telling in the process of working out events and characters. That to carefully shape every sentence during writing the first draft can be disruptive and block your writing flow.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
It all made sense. Of course the editing process was the place to enhance and amend. (Duh!)
I wasn't a complete failure after all. (although maybe a little dim)
I stuck two fingers up at my inner critic and returned to my editing with enthusiasm.
Read Robert J Sawyer's useful and interesting article by clicking here. Even if it's old news and you know it already, I think it's worth a read.
Please share any of your own editing stories & inner-critic-bully stories.
Hope your writing is going well today!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

"Coming Soon on Wright Story" PLEASE READ: the following post details a new blogging schedule!

(Poster above designed by my daughter & modelled by my son.)
For too long my blogging has been erratic and disorganised. Therefore in an attempt to organise, revamp and make my blog reader friendly I have devised a plan. (Oh yes, she says rubbing her hands together)
Starting now I will attempt to focus on a minimum of two weekly blog posts.
My posts will fall into the following categories that will be reachable via the 'Contents' bar at the top of my blog:
  • Wright Writing - an account of my writing life and relevant writing activities!
  • Wright Web Watch - these posts will feature something or someone interesting I've found on the Internet and will revolve around the topics of writing, reading, story, creativity......
  • Wright Reading - occasionally I may write a post about a book I've enjoyed or/and found useful.
  • Wright Photos - original but totally unprofessional photos may be used to adorn any of the above posts. As regular readers know, I do sometimes like to share pictures taken in my garden and in my home county of Cornwall.

I make no apologies for the cheesy content titles I have chosen. (okay just a little sorry)

I will try and exclude 'Wright Waffle' as far as possible. However, I will apologise in advance for the times when waffle seeps in, sometimes (like now) I just can't help it.

My Twitter page @wrightstory is a good place to discover my day to day musings. (Warning: Wright Waffle will often be found on my Twitter page but at least it will be limited to 140 characters)

Please wish me luck as I embark on my new organised blogging plan. Hope you enjoy (or at least humour) my attempts.


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