Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Mystical, Magical Moments in Creative Writing

OCD perhaps how we writers keep on writing in the face of defeat after defeat. I am reminded of the song lyric, "When my smallest of dreams won't come true..." We are accused of being dreamers and how can we not be just that? Our stock in trade is our dreams, our imaginations, our visions, those voices so demanding within us, in our hearts and in our heads, demanding to be released out into the world, and we visualize it all from the outset to the finish line as one perfect set of characters aligned with a perfect plot in the perfect setting be it aboard a doomed ship, in a wooded dale, in a dark and sinister city of our creation and sifted through the five senses and sometimes the sixth sense of our character(s).

Writing is in effect a huge leap of faith. Think of it, you set out with a single phrase, a single sentence, hoping it will lead to a single paragraph, knowing all the while that you are committing yourself to months, perhaps years of hard labor despite its being a labor of love. What motivates us to put down that first word in the building of yet another novel after the first? How do we ever manage to go on to the second and beyond that?

It really truly helps to thoroughly know your character(s), particularly those who can carry the weight of successive books on their shoulders as they make the new title a good deal easier to get into as you KNOW this ensemble so well from your having lived with them through a previous novel, previous perils and adventures. You get to know them often better than you know any real person.

Still what makes us driven to write and write again, despite the overwhelming odds. "Never tell me the odds, kid," says Han Solo to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. If we were to dwell on the odds of actually completing a novel, and then actually finding anyone who'd care to publish it, and then any audience willing to pay good money for it....would we ever begin?  Is it really about that or is there some deeper, even cosmic reason behnd WHY...why we write?

Frankly, for me, I suspect it is  genetic--yes, all in the heredity of the born storyteller whose gift at birth then is nourished and allowed to flourish. If I could look into a crystal ball not at the future but at the past, would I find my Uncle John there, the great oral storyman looking back at me? What of a grandfather, a great grandfather in the old homeland of Scotland? And before that...in the time of the first men to sit about a campfire and retell events of the hunt?  Something in a story wants telling, needs telling, and needs people like you and me to hear it and hear it well, and to demand it be told well.

Voices out of the past, voices in the present, voices out of the future infiltrate a storyteller's mind and they all demand a hearing, and so it goes...we are OCD about getting all the stories we hear in our heads outside of us and on paper. We have little choice otherwise. The whole damn thing is mystical, and the older a storyteller gets, the more mystical the process becomes.

Robert W. Walker, author of Titanic 2012, Children of Salem, and more...

6 comments:

Carolyn Smith said...

Yes, my writing is slightly OCD in that i cannot help myself. LOL Will I ever sell big? Will I ever make enough money to matter? Probably not, but I still HAVE to write mysteries and romances. There is NO 12-step program for writers. Would we even want one?

Sun Singer said...

There is a lot of magic in it; maybe it's also mystical. We touch deep levels, possibly within ourselves as well as others, and then we spin the yarn. After that, it's hard to say what happens or what's supposed to happen.

Beth Anderson said...

Rob, I've never heard it expressed better. You really, truly are a master writer. Yes, I believe it's part mystical and unexplainable. It can't be just the fun of all the hard work. If it were, why would we be so hell-bent to do it? If it were to soothe the ego, I wonder what the ratio is between having the ego soothed and having it beat to pieces day after day. Excellent thoughts, Rob.

jenny milchman said...

I agree, Rob, there may be something genetic--you would think so to see my 7 year old, who as early as 2, was narrating. And there must be a slightly obsessive streak to anyone who can do all the polishing and perfecting getting a novel right requires. But mostly, I think, there is a tendency to dream. To dream, and then to jump. To know the odds and simply not care.

Rob said...

We could make a collective book of essays on the subject out of this, you know. Well said one and all here. Thanks all and am glad you took the time to throw some feedack my way. Very much appreciated. For better sales on your ebooks and kindle titles you may want to find me under KDP Community, voice of the author threads, under What Moves Kindle bks. off the Shelf - lots of good ideas there.

Rob

Madison Johns said...

Before I finish a book I always tell myself I'll never do it again because it's too hard! I have yet to continue the characters from my past book because by the time I finished it, I was sick to death of them. If it gets published I'll have to suffer revisiting them. I will most likely use them again, but I felt the need to separate myself from what I have done before.