Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It came out of nowhere...

Reading Mike Kimera's post about a story he wrote that seemed to arrive in his head 'fully formed', and I have a sneaking suspicion this is how my best work happens.

Sometimes you slave and research and scrabble and revise, and eventually you tick all the boxes - a plot, characters, dialogue, etc etc. A perfectly workable story. Yet the times when you sit down and just strap yourself in, fingers rattle over the keyboard and voices actually Talk to you, like there's someone standing over your shoulder.

A few hours later, you have a piece of writing you hardly recognise, but everything about it hums. Hums in a very good way.

Would you get the seat-of-your-pants stories, the gifts from nowhere, without the hours, days, weeks spent trying to understand the passive voice and sentence structure? Is this what they're on about when they talk about the subconsious, or is it Jung's collective unconscious, or mere luck?

Either way, I've spent all morning writing a particularly turgid first paragraph, and I'm here now to ask the muse or the psyche or the synapses to start work, please. I can smell the story, I just can't write it. Come on and possess me, o demons of pithy language...

4 comments:

Anastasia said...

I'm fully with you on that. I feel like that many times, most times when I plan, plan, and do some more planning, I may get somewhere, but I also end up the creek without a paddle too.

You know (bit of trivia) Hemingway would spend, sometimes half a day, on a paragraph because he was pedantic about the wording (strange but true).

wendywoo said...

I not a great planner, but I very rarely get these brilliant flashes where stories come to me fully fleshed and just need writing either. Most things I do grow slowly, with bits and pieces gradually aggregating into a whole. Bit of a tortuous process sometimes, but there you are...

Alana said...

I love Mike Kimera. Amazing writer. But shame on him for saying that! If only we did take dictation from God or story's sprang to life like Athena from Zeus's head. According to Anne Lamott, such comments from writers should be viewed as hostile. Haha. I do love Mike. I love his writing. Ideas have come to me fully formed, but a story, NEVER. In fact, I've had people tell me "Oh, yeah, I can write a story, in like a night, and have it done." To which I say, "I hate you."

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