PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER ARTICLES:
Parnell is the World's Foremost Writing Guru" - Writers Digest Best
Writers' Site - Critters #1 Best Writers' Info Site 2010 - 2011
THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE:
Write On Target
In the beginning was the word...
A peculiar trait of us humans is that we don't really consider something to exist until it has a name or some kind of descriptor.
Words bring things to life. Emotions, experiences and activities become concrete when they're explored and documented. More than this - reality is essentially defined by words, in the same way that the quantum level of things - perhaps even the entire universe - is said not to exist until it is observed.
This is great for writers - we are mini gods, co-creating the world around us by recording it for whatever reason - our own pleasure or from a need to communicate.
Because that's the great part: words take on much more solidity when they are shared.
Mere words become concepts, art forms and entire other worlds, as in fiction, where an author's view of reality can take on substance in some ways - and to some people - more real than the world we live in.
I've been working on a kids book - actually more of a graphic novel - where I'm having to imagine what the protagonist's home planet looks like - and base his super powers - he's called Turbopants BTW - on some of believable science.
And pencil drawing his home planet (above) made me think about the issue of invention - and how the imaginative process really is like constructing something from nothing: substance created from thought alone - one of my favorite preoccupations!
We see it all the time but often take the process for granted. It's just something we humans do.
A writer sits down, scribbles a few words that become the basis for a novel. Later that may become a screenplay with actors and sets and props and before you know it, legions of fans believe the reality of the movie to be more compelling than their own workaday lives...
I'm getting carried away again...
Some of my esteemed subscribers have pointed out that my recent articles have been tinged with an effusive quality likely borne out of being happy as the proverbial Larry - whomever he might have been!
But if being happy and in love makes us see connections and fill us with a sense of wonder and profundity, I say, bring it on!
Seriously, I believe you can't underestimate what you're doing when you sit down to write. You're not just transferring thoughts to paper, you're re-imaging the world, often replacing reality with something more powerful, meaningful and satisfying.
Well, that's the idea anyway...
Does that mean we can't write about violence, cruelty and horror? Of course not. It's just as important to document the dark side of ourselves, the savagery, the self interest, all the bad things we do to each other - because ignoring things doesn't make them go away - even though Wallace Wattles (the original 'secret' inventor of "The Secret") might have disagreed!
Inhumanity is the flip side of ourselves. And just like the idea that without dark there is no light, we cannot know how to be more human without being aware of what to avoid and make positive moves away from.
So in our fiction writing it's okay to dwell on evil, misfortune and any and all of the obstacles human face - but eventually there should be balance. Our stories need to resolve in such a way that hope is suggested.
Not in any crass way.
Merely in an objective way. An author's existentialist obsessions may be just as harmful to his work as any overly apparent sense of optimism.
Balance is the key.
After all, if there's no point to anything - why are you writing?
Even Sartre and Camus privately reveled in the idea that their particular brands of misery were being widely read!
It's about cultivating a sense of responsibility - that you have a duty to report the world without bias. That you remain objective, no matter how deep into the morass or private hell you go.
The world is still a beautiful place, even though bad things tend to happen all the time.
Readers like to know there's hope - and even if you write for yourself and never get your work out there, you have a duty to yourself to see the upside occasionally too!
So that when you're re-reading something you wrote a long time ago, you can still see the positive in the work - and by extension, the humanity in yourself.
Until next week,Keep writing!
THIS WEEK'S WRITER'S QUOTE:
"Rob Parnell is the foremost writing guru in the world." Vin Smith, Midnight Bookworm
Copyright 2002 - 2011 Rob Parnell. All Rights Reserved.