Saturday, February 25, 2012

Storytelling (Part 1)

Ira Glass is the host, creator and executive producer of NPR's This American Life.  He started in radio at age 19.  In his time at NPR he has worked nearly every news job there.  Today his show is the most downloaded  podcast in all of America. He is a storytelling genius.

Watching this video I was struck by several things.
  1. The way we learned it is all wrong.  
  2. What is more disturbing the way we teach it is all wrong...that was an upsetting revelation watching the video.
  3. Any type of writing starts with the action, the antidote that builds and weaves the reader into the tale.  The story is a sequence of events. The events in and of themselves build suspense through the movement.  The reader feels like they are going somewhere. I love this thought.  Intrinsically I knew this but it was reaffirming to hear it said. 
  4. Raise questions and answer them as the story is being shaped. I had never thought of using questions.  It is part of the belief that you must trust your readers to extract meaning from the text without you spoon feeding it to them.
  5. The moment of reflection is the point of the story where everything is pulled together and you know why the story was shared. It is the reason we are reading the story. It is why we are here, why the story is here and why it is shared. 
  6. I love that the trick of a good story is the balance of action and reflection.  I have a ton of action in my story...I need to think of reflection and see where it fits.
What struck you as interesting or brought up a problem with your own writing? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creativity, the hard part is keeping it, right?

I know that when I am in the zone, writing everyday at the same time. The creativity never falters. I feel invincible...the writing Wonder Woman.  Sometimes it is a little bit more magical than others.  It feels more magical than others.  But it is like a well used muscle ready for me when I need it.  The problem is when the routine evaporates.  When I finish a project and then have the, "now what" feeling and the routine is over.

I know that I am not alone. Distractions exist for everyone. It is the determination that we have as individuals to go back to our art and fight through the slumps and slow periods. The slumps are a time of realizing the gap between my ability and taste.  Maybe Ira Glass has it right.  I need to write and there is no trick. It is about doing it till my talent catches up with my taste.

Excuses, talent, and judging be damned...time to write.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Good ideas need to collide

If good ideas come from our hunches and their collision with other peoples hunches then we need to ask ourselves, when was the last time you interacted with other writers and discussed the bits and pieces that you are thinking about?

I have recently found an amazing community of writers on Twitter.  They have given me an incredible outlet to flirt, sass, and be silly with my ideas.  They have resulted in great hunches for my writing and encouragement to move forward with my current work in progress.

The WIP has had quiet a life. It is the stripped and chopped WIP that I started two years ago given a new life with a new point of view.  This has been a humbling experience.  (I might be a little bias...but I think I get my fair share of these on a daily basis.)  This is the first time I feel it is my voice telling the story. It time for me to find it and own it in this work.