Sunday, January 24, 2010

Writing a story

So how do you write a story? Over on the blog of my erstwhile writing tutor, Alex Keegan, AK has produced a thought-provoking essay on the matter. His starting point is: 'Dorthea Brande argued that when we are "tweaked" by something ... it's because the image, the something, the snippet of conversation, a smell, a colour, a sunset, whatever, CONNECTS TO SOMETHING INSIDE.'

It's all subconscious, of course. AK explains:

We do not need to ever KNOW what the original thing was, or the pains if they were pains, but we "revisit" the swelling darkness of it, and allow it to work its psychic dark magic on us.

What the memory or memories is or are is hardly the point. A common error when reading this is to imagine that we must REMEMBER, actually recall the specifics.

Instead, he argues, we should use the sensations/emotions that have been wrought in us in order to create something new. Do not try to recall the original event or whatever - you're writing, not self-psychoanalysing - but instead use the itch that has been created in you to explore something entirely new. It's all good advice. Alex is firmly of the belief that you should sit down and begin writing - not plot or research or plan or worry about this or that, just write. A character will emerge. That character will dictate the story. You just write it down.

Alex has run his online Boot Camp for a number of years, and has just re-launched it apparently. It's not for the faint-hearted - criticism is fair but direct- and it isn't free, but if you want to improve as a writer Alex can definitely help you.


Ken said...

Thanks to you, I joined up. But there are still only a few people doing it thus far. Have you thought about jumping back into it?

Tom Conoboy said...

Well, it's tempting, but to be honest with the PhD research I just don't have the time to do it justice. Hope it goes well though. I'll pop in and have a nosey around the public area, see what's happening.

Alex Keegan said...

Ken, Tom, last year (2009) wasn't good for BC partly because I was spending so much time finishing Capel Cader Idris (where now I can run courses)

Boot Camp 2010 was only launched a week ago, and is showing real signs of taking off, but these things take a few weeks, mainly because newbies are nervous and quiet.

2010 WILL be a good year.


Tom Conoboy said...

Ken, Alex

I hope BC goes well in 2010. I remember some ferocious arguments in there, so I hope the newbies get over their shyness quickly...