Saturday, February 6, 2010

By Showing Up; I asked my Question

When I started taking this writing workshop I wanted to meet writers in B’town. I wanted to hear what other people were writing about and expand my craft. I wanted to know what came next and I wanted to stop feeling stumped. I had the begging middle and end of one story done and had started to work on the other. The other, “Bridget” has an outline with a couple characters in what can be called a “Shitty First Draft” (Anne Lamott Bird By Bird). I was just aimlessly running characters and images into each other. I knew it needed more, but I didn’t know what came next.

A few years ago, I walked into Frog Hollow (I just googled Frog Hollow and it closed in August, that makes me sad) in search of a certain book about writing. I didn’t have a title or an author, but I needed a reference about how to write a book. There were things that were touched on in university that I wanted to know more about. I could write pages and pages of writing (I didn’t say it was good, just that I could put down a lot of words and sentences on a page.) But I couldn’t figure out how to structure it. I picked up a copy of the “Gotham Writers Workshop Writing Fiction” and sighed. This was what I want, the book that outlined things like plot, theme and dramatic question.”

The lady working at Frog Hollow held a copy of “Bird by Bird” and said “if you really want to write, read this, it is great inspiration.”
“I’ve got enough inspiration,” I said “I need to know how to write. I needed to know where to place things and what goes where.” Yes, I do own a copy of Bird by Bird, 5 years later…

Today, Nina Munteau started the class by telling us that we could buy her book about writing. Of course my inner dialogue had something to say about that. “I don’t need another book to tell me about plot and theme and point of view.” I said this about Elisabeth Hasselbecks book to, I looked at my mom and said “I’ve been dealing with food for more than 15 years, what is her book going to tell me that I don’t already know.”

Luckily, a little time convinces me that I should rethink being stubborn and pig headed. I did buy Elisabeth’s book and cleaned out my diet to a point where I’m healthier than ever. And, as I was listening to Nina speak today she told us to relate what she said to a piece we were working on. I started to put pieces together: what I think is the whole story is just the introduction, there’s got to be a whole lot more information, we need to see more than this character get hurt, we also need to see her recover from it and survive.”

I asked myself (as she was holding up many different books about writing and quoting all these references) how I could believe that because I have read five books about writing and have a 3 year degree that involved a lot of writing: I didn’t need another person’s angle, ideas and inspiration about writing.

Then she brought out the archetypes; Hero, mentor, herald, shadow and so on, and I started to put each archetypes to the characters I was writing. "Bridget," a story that had stumped me; now had life again.

I also learned, I need not be so stubborn.

So I walked out with her book and can’t wait to get into it and find time to write more.

Again, I’m excited about writing.

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