As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day.
National Novel Writing Month is almost on us. Like an approaching storm, it’s to where we smell the ground getting wet, hear the raindrops and see the roll of the wind closing in. It’s time to either get out of the way, or prepare to crouch at the starting block, ready for midnight of November 1st.
There is a lot of writing advice out there and if it works for even some writers, it’s good. Like I’ve mentioned, every writer is different and they need to take the time to discover what works for them. And this discovery is a process, sometimes life-long. Writing is a life journey of discovery.
I’ve mentioned some techniques that I think are vital to all writers, and today I’m going to state the most important. I’ve mentioned that planning a time to write is important. Making it a habit conditions the brain to write, especially if it’s at the same time every day. I also said the finding one’s voice is essential to any writer. That can come with lots of writing practice and it helps the writer to be true to who they are. And that relates to what I think is the most important thing I writer must do.
I read a quote by author Madeline L’Engel, who is probably best known for writing A Wrinkle in Time and the two books following. She told how a boy once asked her if she believed in the things she wrote. Ms. L’Engle said yes she did. The boy was astounded and questioned further. Did she really believe in a tesseract, the way space was folded in her book? Ms. L’Engle told the boy of course she did.
The next book of hers I read, I saw it. This author believes that what she writes is true. These things could really happen. To a science fiction author, there might not be faster than light travel, not yet. But they can believe it’s possible. And that will show in their writing. In a literary fiction story with everything normal, does the writer believe their character’s motivations? Could these situations really happen? The writer must believe that. If they don’t, neither will the readers.
What’s more the author of the story must believe in the theme. The theme of the story is the truth that the story proves. The conflict of the story will present a question and the resolution will be an answer. That answer is what the writer should believe is true. It may be a theme as simple as good versus evil. If the writer believes that good could and should triumph, then that’s what the story’s theme can show.
These are high ideals I’m stating here. In today’s world of media there are plenty of stories being told in film and books that don’t have a solid theme at their core. The writer’s purpose in composing the story may not to be their desire to communicate who they are to the world. They might only be writing for fame and money. And there the books are, covering the shelves in major bookstores.
What do you say to that, David?
Tell you tomorrow.