Monday, March 8, 2010
In the beginning...
I think that when you say you're a writer, people (and when I say people, I mean people who don't write) automatically assume your book will be hitting the shelves next week. Not true. This week I've decided to talk about the process a bit, more for those non writers, or for those writers who are new to the game.
Today I'm going to talk about The Creation. Different writers = different writing styles. Mine is a bit chaotic. I don't outline, I don't plan, I just write.
In the beginning, the Writer creates a story. Now the story was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Writer was hovering over the pages.
And the Writer said, "Let there be characters," and there were characters. The Writer saw the characters were good, and she separated them and called one protagonist, and one antagonist, and added others and named them things like, love interest, and foil.
And the Writer said, "Let this story develop." So the Writer devised a plan, and called that plan "plot" and it was so.
And the Writer said, "This plot needs a conflict. Let's decide whether it be Man versus Man, a conflict that pits one person against another. Or Man versus Nature, a run-in with the forces of nature. On the one hand, it expresses the insignificance of a single human life in the cosmic scheme of things. On the other hand, it tests the limits of a person’s strength and will to live. Or Man versus Society, the values and customs by which everyone else lives are being challenged. The character may come to an untimely end as a result of his or her own convictions. The character may, on the other hand, bring others around to a sympathetic point of view, or it may be decided that society was right after all. Or, Man versus Self, internal conflict. Not all conflict involves other people. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies. An internal conflict is a good test of a character’s values. Does he give in to temptation or rise above it? Does he demand the most from himself or settle for something less? Does he even bother to struggle? The internal conflicts of a character and how they are resolved are good clues to the character’s inner strength. Often, more than one kind of conflict is taking place at the same time. In every case, however, the existence of conflict enhances the reader’s understanding of a character and creates the suspense and interest that make you want to continue reading." The Writer made a choice, and it was good.
And the Writer said, "Let the reader become one with the story. Let my words enable them to see and feel what is happening." And it was so. And the Writer called it, "imagery". And the Writer saw that it was good.
And the Writer said, "Let there be a great moment of intensity for the reader. Let it interest them and make them feel fervent emotion. Let us bring the story to a head." So the Writer created "climax". And the Writer saw it was good.
And the Writer said, "Let us bring an end to the story. An end that makes sense, and does not disappoint the reader. An end that follows all that has come before." And it was so. And it was called, "resolution." And the Writer saw it was good.
And the Writer saw everything she had made, and behold, it was very good.
Okay, maybe it's a little narcissistic to compare creating a novel with the creation of the world, but writers are a little (a lot) narcissistic, and it's pretty much the same. You are in essence creating a world. Creating man in characters. And it's a labor of love, just as it was for the higher power. And it is so. And it is good.
Thanks to this web site.
Side note: I've take up poetry. I've started another blog that you can check out here. Now, I didn't just write a poem and call myself a poet. I have a mentor, her name is Lori, and she's been helping me out. But with all this angst I feel, I thought poetry would be a good outlet for me.
Thanks for reading.
My Dad. He's awesome.
John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney