Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No pacts with the devil allowed....

ahh - school holidays. Suffice to say we're in the midst of one and we love the local DVD rental place and EVERYONE in Auckland was at St Lukes shopping mall yesterday. Had dinner out with the Wellington branch of the SO family clan last night for eldest's birthday at GPK in Ponsonby. We were informed on arrival to get our order in quickly before a party of 50 were expected, including the All Blacks. Cue an undercurrent of excitement. We were seated en route to the loos and can report that some of those boys are better looking in real life, some are the size of small mountains and some seem to have a bladder weakness - go figure. We were too wimpy (or just respectful perhaps of their privacy) to ask for autographs but it was fun to stare.

One of the commentors on Nicola Morgan's blog post, 'There are no rules for writing, just results' suggested that trying to tease out the 'hows' can mess with the process. If we think too much about how we go about writing we get caught in the nuts and bolts and lose the freedom and effectiveness of just doing it - kind of like getting the yipps if you are a golfer (think Ian Baker Finch). I have wondered about this myself as I have gone about the business of trying to understand how I do what I do to be able to share it with workshop groups and other audiences. Generally I have found it useful for my novel writing although there are still many instances where it is just intuitive and I can't remember the names for things from grammar class at school . Picture books are murkier. The overall structure and defining characteristics are easy to outline but the story itself is the result of magic and I really cannot explain it any better than that. When it is right, you just know. Hardest of all for me are short stories. I do not know how these work and how they are short stories rather than some other form/genre. I only know sometimes I can write one very well and I have had some success with these. In an upcoming pair of books to be published by Scholastic NZ, Pick 'n' Mix Volumes 1 & 2 due November 2010 and February 2011 respectively I have three short stories. I will post the cover up when I have the first volume in my hot little hands. I have had a number of other short stories published, a good proportion of these twice by different publishers. But I don't think I can tell you how I do it. For me, I think they are picture book ideas that were too big and long and didn't need pictures. But the important ingredient is still the magic of that story idea and there are no rules that will help you get those. You just need to work on your own magic - but no pacts with the devil now, eh?

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