Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

It isn't often a book grabs me so fully that I have to read it right to the end without pause. Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris is one of those though. It is curious More »

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – A few months on.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – A few months on.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about joining the beta test for Square Enix‘s new MMO: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In the subsequent months it has been launched and I find More »

The world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Ozian cannon

The world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Ozian cannon

There are few households that haven’t heard of the Wizard of OZ, and the franchise has gone in a multitude of directions, most recently the major Hollywood film: Oz the great and More »

Literature Discussion: Will Self’s Dorian, an imitation

Literature Discussion: Will Self’s Dorian, an imitation

Dorian by Will Self is a charming walk in a cesspit of debauchery. It is a strange, re-invention of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and offers the same lack of redemption. Will Self More »

Literature discussion: Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Literature discussion: Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray

For many years, I have wanted to read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  It has intrigued me mostly because I cannot remember when I learnt of its story. I knew I More »

Book Review: Going Out by Scarlett Thomas.

Book Review: Going Out by Scarlett Thomas.

Going Out by Scarlet Thomas, is a strange novel, one that will enthral, confuse entertain and frustrate. Based around the exploits of Luke and Julie(t) and a mishmash circle of friends. The More »

After A Memory of Light: The end of The Wheel of Time

After A Memory of Light: The end of The Wheel of Time

Twelve years ago, on a dusty shelf in the back of a library I found a novel called The Eye of the world. It was a lofty volume but I thought i More »

After Six years of playing World of Warcraft has the end finally come?

After Six years of playing World of Warcraft has the end finally come?

Back in January 2007 an old friend of mine introduced me to World of Warcraft. I recall with relish, his excitement over the release of the first Expansion: the Burning Crusade. More »

Book Review: The Age of Five Trilogy

Book Review: The Age of Five Trilogy

The Age of the Five Trilogy by Trudi Canavan is the second series written by the Australian fantasy author.  While set as a trilogy of three volumes; Priestess Of The White, Last More »

 

A discussion on Creative Writing…

For almost as long as I can remember, whenever I have mentioned to people that I write – they always seem to say some derivative of “I don’t know how you do it.” Aside from the pretty facetious answer of lining up words in order to convey meaning, I suppose I don’t really know. To me writing is not something I think about. It’s just something I do.

Of course there is detailed thought on plot, character, novel direction, form and even expression. But I do not actually think  about writing itself. One thing I do know is that like anything, it takes a great deal of time and practice to get right and even then, there is always room for improvement. There are those, who think that you’re an author when you publish and before that you are simply an ‘aspiring’ author.  Now I’ve thought on this a great deal, and can only conclude that it is utter tosh. The minute you write anything, you become an author and for the simple reason that you wrote it.

For some reason there seem to be hundreds of rules. If you write this, then you must have A, B,C. Well I never gave much thought to rules, of course it is generally logical to follow the rules of the genre if you write in one. For instance, I write high fantasy, and it would be pretty silly not to include at least some of the common elements of High fantasy in my writing. But I certainly don’t allow myself to be bound by them. The rules I follow tend to be concerned with the plot, and the target audience but only loosely. If my writing requires me to break a few generic conventions, then I don’t fuss to much over it. I think, when it comes to creative writing, you have to work with what suits you best. After all there is no point writing if all you’re going to see it as a chore.

The subject of creative writing can be anything, but I always think it must hold your interest. I don’t think you have to experience something in order to write about it… but I do think there is a fine balance to be had. After all, I certainly will not claim what it feels like giving birth, but I might, if necessary quietly ask, a few of my close friends what it is like. Therein lies the balance, it does not bode well to assume, but you can make an educated guess. But ultimately it comes down to what you want to achieve, and were you want to take it. Give yourself the freedom to latch onto the subject you want to write about and if it doesn’t work, consider why? sometimes what you need more is to let it lie in a drawer for a few years that force it out now. When you come back to it, you may just find yourself ready to finally write the story you wanted to, years before.

The form of your writing is the most fundamental thing to get right and its a trial an error thing. Sometimes it just comes naturally, at others it has to be dragged kicking and screaming from some orifice at the back of your mind. But there is a way of making it easy on yourself. Set in your head which form you are going to use and stick to it. There is nothing more daunting than the prospect of re-writing twenty thousand words in third person perspective, because initially you wrote in first, nor more frustrating. It is also important to consider the scope of what you need to tell the story. I don’t think set word counts help, as sometimes you end up with a story that is lacking in detail or ends like a slap in the face. Either way its a damn shame.

Now, as with all creative pursuits. You have to ask yourself whether it really suits you. I can write well. But stick a paintbrush in my hand and you’d get something that a three year old could beat. The same goes for writing, but there is more to consider. Some would say that to be a writer you should be grammatically accurate, punctuate without thought and have perfect spelling. Well if that was the case I’d never be considered a writer. Before my edits, and one could argue, afterwards – my grammar and punctuation is awful. But then, the content I write is engaging. A university lecturer once said to me, “I can teach you how to punctuate and correct grammar usage, but I cannot teach you to be creative.” I would wager that is the sad thing about writing, some people write but their ideas are flat, that should never discourage them, as long as they have fun writing it – who am I to tell them to stop? we all have our tastes, I guess the important thing is to try your hardest and get it out there. People will always criticise, but at least you can say you tried.

 

Anne Rice gives some great advice…

Write Soon

Steven

 

What are your thoughts?