The internet brims with advice on how to write (this little blog included). I most enjoy reading the ponderings of those of us who are still exploring the mystery of this craft, this art. So few absolutes exist in the realm of creativity. How wondrous that we all possess distinctive voices, styles and stories to tell. To me, writing is organic, personal. I believe we need to discover, encourage, and play with our inner muses.
I’ve read a number of blogs and how-to narratives that outline the steps for developing character and plot. Some offer great wisdom, while others (often those written by the “experts”) strike me as somewhat formulaic. And I don’t mean general guidelines with a few obvious rules. I mean fill in the blanks! To me, these strictures feel deadening, and I worry that new writers in particular will unwittingly lose the opportunity to discover the unique storyteller within.
I wrote my first book without a clue as to what I was doing. And despite the painful drudgery of endless editing to address my ignorance and learn the craft, I’m glad I did it that way. Because I loved the creative process. I love writing from the inside out. I’m not sure if I would have come to the same conclusion writing a fill-in-the-blank book with fill-in-the-blank characters.
I’m close to finishing the Raven’s Shadow fantasy trilogy by Anthony Ryan. He breaks so many rules it’s exhilarating. Someday I’ll make a list and we can all celebrate. The first book in the trilogy, Blood Song, has 2, 124 reviews. I loved the series. Did I mention he breaks rules?
As I finish final edits on my current project, I’ve begun to stir the cauldron and will soon enter the contemplative process of conjuring up the next story. That’s what it feels like to me…magic. That spark of inspiration bubbles up from inside me, not from a formula, and when it arrives, it’s mine.
I would second this bit of wisdom and the attendant advice. As artists, we may relish our rules-of-writing consciousness, but inspired writing rarely springs from a formula. Writing is alive with subtlety, impression and intent. Listen, learn, revisit, and then find your own way. You are the artist.