Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Been There, Done That

Writing comes hard when you are bogged down. This can come from anything. The more weight you carry, the more weighed down you can become. The more weighed down you become, the more numb you may be. If you can't feel, you can't write. Your words won't flow the way they need to.

Writers write from what they know. Writers, like actors on a stage, reach deep into their emotions and expose human emotion, human reactions to the triggers of life experience. That is why we love our favorite authors: they understand what we feel, what we think, because they have been there, too.

As I wrote my honors thesis, a novel, I used journal entries as writing prompts to keep me focused on what I was trying to say. The journal entries are a blend of fiction and non-fiction to give credibility to the story.

The final formatting of the novel may change, but I found it easier to control my project by using daily writing prompts to stay focused and control the continuity of ideas from start to finish. As I work on the sequel, I am using the same tools.

This sounds like where plotting comes into play. I didn't sit down and plot the story. Or did I? Each journal entry for each selected day defined the seed from which that part's heart and action grew. It told who was the central character and why it was important at that particular moment.

I have journaled, off and on, for years, when I have something worth saying. There are many things I only wish I had set to paper because many of those things are long ago forgotten. Still, with the right spark, a flame is produced and stories are written.

From the bits and pieces of the past, events and people, that held important and valuable, grow the characters and happenings within works of fiction. Each person, each character, reacts differently to events that happen. How amazing it is to see new life varies from the same seed to arrive at the same or a similar conclusion.

What are you writing today?

1 comment:

JanetElaineSmith said...

Good points, Cathy. I used to journal much more than I do now. Since I am working on writing about our time in Venezuela, how glad I am that I was journaling then. I can recall the exact incidents once I get that little "prompt" from the journals of long ago, but so many things I haven't thought about in years.
Janet Elaine Smith