My Advanced Creative Writing class often creates interesting questions in my mind. I find myself being able to pull actual bits of wisdom out of the text that we read from. Today’s reading was, ironically enough, about wisdom. Those little threads of insight that can make a piece of writing go from good, to brilliant. The way that authors explore the human condition and put a magnifying glass to our experiences, is no short of a miracle. The idea behind this chapter was to understand it’s done, so that we can create work that is just as eye-opening as they do.
The interesting secret behind it all is that none of us know what we’re doing. I mean we know where we want to go, but we end up going somewhere else. We have a basic skeleton that we follow, but the flesh is created from a complete fluke; an accident. It is, however, an accident that we desire; one that we benefit from.
So the real question is, how do you create something good from an accident? How can you be sure that your work is going to be as good as anything else that is already out there? Well you can’t be positive. But you can do one thing that will set you in the right direction: observe. Pay attention to the little things around you. Notice the way people talk. Notice the way that people influence others through small actions. Everyone’s familiar with the idea that the little things in life are what’s important and what we love. Well the same rule, governs writing. The tiny things that your characters do, the little nuances and quirks, the way they interact with their surroundings; that’s what makes the piece come together. That is how wisdom is revealed in your writing.
It requires a lot of leaps and risk taking. It requires you, as a writer, to be vulnerable and open, but it’s the only way you can create a masterpiece. I will leave you with a quote by a brilliant writer…of whom I am apparently related to 🙂
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” – Ernest Hemingway