Why write, II

All writing is good writing, even the stuff that doesn’t quite work. I tend to contemplate and discard stuff through mental mastication, but there is something fundamental about getting it out where you can take a good look at it and see if it really fits your intentions. There’s also something about the act of writing itself where people and scenarios don’t come alive until you start writing about them. You can’t always make direct use of all the details and various possible options that come from this, but it does help to clarify what you *do* want. Like for any good lab researcher, negative results are still results. You learn – with every string of dialogue, every descriptive scene, every inner monologue – your voice gets stronger, your ability to *choose* how to say what you mean becomes greater. You become a writer by writing. Simple as that.

At the same time, it’s important to consider the entire process. Starting is often relatively easy, middles get bogged down, and endings can be rushed or dragged out interminably. The effort should be made to work through all three. It takes practice to discover your own way of getting through each step – finding your rhythm. Very much like musical phrasing, I think. Once you’ve chosen your key signature and general theme, the middle is where you get to play with it – riff off the circle of fifths, throw in some sharps and naturals, alternate the tempo. Work on your bridges, so the transitions are smoothe. Then it’s time to revisit the primary theme in order to complete the melodic line in a satisfactory manner and bring it an ending.

It is the cadence, the pacing, the build-up to an irrefutable conclusion that is the *essence* of believable story-telling. Characters can represent everything you hold dear, or be terrible, beautiful creatures with hearts like rotten apples. Prose may be direct as a sand-blaster or delicate as a quill pen. Portray overwhelming force coupled with aching tenderness. Write a story of carefully won control cracking beneath the weight of unbearable angst. Do anything you wish, just make it sing.


About erikawilson

Aspiring author in search of a voice that other people will enjoy listening to.
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