"... the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself... alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the sweat and the agony." ~ William Faulkner
What is good fiction writing technique? How do we unleash the creative energy through the channels of character and story? Craft and technique are vital, but technical expertise alone cannot release the writer's passion, and the perfectly turned phrase will please the ego, but if it doesn't translate into something meaningful for the character and story, it is so much wasted word count.
Not that there's anything wrong with seeking the perfectly turned phrase. I seek it myself. It's a great delight for the mind; the problem is when we confuse perfection of outer form with the essential task of the fiction writer, which is to create flesh and blood characters and tell a good story.
As Faulkner said, revealing the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself is a challenging task. It requires getting the thinking mind out of the equation.
Why is this important?
The thinking mind has a lot of opinions about what we should and shouldn’t write. Experience tells me that our best writing comes when we leave behind our mind's expectations and journey into the unknown, into that fertile landscape of shadows, mist, fertility, and birth that holds a truth beyond the mind's understanding.
Often such a journey shows up characters, storylines, and landscapes that we never expected, might not want to write about and fear we don't have the expertise to write about, even if we try. So what is the writer to do?
Forget words, they do not chart the fiction writer's course.
Trust the call of the unknown characters and plots.
Take risks, even if the characters and storylines that show up scare you.
Become a fearless writer. Plow ahead. Trust. If you do, you emerge into a landscape more vibrant than the one you left behind. Miraculously, you find yourself writing the story you never thought you'd write. These are the stories and characters that your mind could not imagine but your heart hungers to write.
If this sounds exciting to you, and you are ready for a writing coach who understands the mysterious journey of writing, call me at 914.962.4432. Explore my various coaching programs.
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