Saturday, January 14, 2012

A muse on the inside...

Okay so while I was busy disproving sacred cow's theories in my last post I think I succeeded in proving that at least part of what she said is true. Old Kitty you are right, it is 'how you say it'. A specific topic is not the problem, the way we deal to it is what engages potential readers. You learn something new everyday - this is a good thing.

Today's juicy link is a lovely long list of things to pique your interest and tickle your grey matter. I particularly liked Meg Rosoff's run down on how to write a book and the lovely link on revision“If I stop believing, I know I won’t have a book at the end of this.” I inherited a sound logical brain and smidge of pragmatism from my Dad, and a more spiritual and artistic world view from my Mum. I tend to err on the side of pragmatism in my day to day life but when it comes to writing there is an elusive magical quality that defies a rational approach. In the course I took last weekend on Writing for Children I kept telling the class to trust their intuition, to write what spoke to them and to believe that solutions to problems would come. Most of all you have to believe in the story you are telling. Sometimes the way it appears in your head, beautiful and stunning and perfectly formed, refuses to transfer to the page in front of you. How can that clever plot twist so clear in your head refuse to take shape in the letters you type. Why won't the words behave? After all, are we not responsible for what we write? Do we not control the story? I think we are, and we do. I used to wonder where the ideas and inspirations, the phrasing, style and humour cam from. I don't talk like that, so how do I write like that? Plenty of writers/creative folk talk about the muse and how all those things come from some external source. For a long time I agreed. But now I think its all in me. A seething soup of everything I've ever read and heard, seen and learnt. A mishmash of my favourite stories and poetry; fun, escapist movies and television programmes, Greek myths and legends told over the radio in primary school, science and history and literature lectures I've attended, personal experiences I've had and people I've met.  There has been an awful lot over the years and now I know somewhere in there will be the answer to my problem, the ending I need, the right metaphor or imagery. Its all there and it will bubble to the surface when the surface is a little less cluttered or when I am not searching so hard. Sometimes the harder I try the more distant the answer becomes.  The bubbling is more effective when i am more relaxed. Running hot water is a successful trigger (shower anyone). I don't have to know how it happens I just have to trust that it will. I just have to let my mind do its own thing and believe the answer lies within - cos if I believe, i will have a book at the end of this.


Andrea Stitson said...

I was lucky enough to attend Melinda's recent weekend course on writing for children. Melinda entertained us with the nuts and bolts of writing. She lead us into her world of creativity and passionately inspired the group to keep writing in 2012. A big thank you to a talented lady.

Andrea Stitson, Napier.

Kim Thomas said...

I too attended Melinda's weekend workshop which I greatly enjoyed. Thanks Melinda. For me trusting my intuition is a biggie rather than let the analytical ex-lawyer brain kick in by default - not being scared of it. I loved the links particularly the one on revision.
As Melinda wrote in a later blog, time to put a wine in the fridge/ even better knuckle down and get on with it - writing that is.
Kim Thomas - Whangarei

Melinda Szymanik said...

Great to hear you enjoyed the course. You were a great crowd to work with. Good luck with the writing!