Wednesday, 10 October 2007

When is a MAT harder than writing? ...

... when it results in this:

Describe your five strengths as a writer

I found the challenge HERE and because I was busy MATing (reading readers' and writers' blogs to avoid writing) I told myself that I would do it, that stumbling across it served me right for avoiding writing, and that I'd get back to writing as soon as I'd done it.

Now that I've said I'll do it I'm as horrified as Sarah was when Bendrix walks back into their bedroom after the bomb. She thinks he's dead and she's on her knees promising God that if he will let Bendrix live she will never see him again. (The End of the Affair, Graham Greene). He lives so she has to keep her promise.

An excessive reaction you may think ... but the fear that positive honesty will result in ridicule resides in all of us, I think. (Enough rs. Ed.)

1 I write emotional truth
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes that emotional truth is difficult to define but instantly recognisable. It is the antithesis of explanation. It is an empathetic human quality and my writing has it. It is the most important thing to me about my writing. When I read I want to be engaged, and the only way a novel truly engages me is when it touches me. My writing touches readers.

2 I write courageously and honestly
If I didn't my stories would bore. I write what I know to be true, metaphorically speaking. I write about soul truths. I write about heart truths. These are, of course, my truths and the truths that belong to the characters I write, so they are subjective truths. But every time I write something that evades the truth of a story I delete it, eventually.

3 The language I use is poetic, lyrical
The words matter. The way they are put together matters. I will work at the way a story is written until the words sing back to me. Sometimes they sing straight away, but usually I need to redraft, and redraft, to find the right rhythms before the words can sing.

4 I paint pictures with words
When I am writing, I see what I'm writing about in my mind's eye. I see the place, the person, the people who aren't speaking, the colours, the angles, the action, the inaction and I know what the weather's doing even if I haven't described it. My writing transmits pictures to its readers.

5 I write succinctly because less is always more
(I cut a lot.)

1 comment:

nova said...

Great list. I especially admire #2.