03 Feb Dispatches from a Golden Egger – Part One
My name’s Andrew Wright and I’m the writer of (and midwife to) a series of novels about a boy called Gareth who has amazing magic locked up in his head. But this blog isn’t about Gareth, not yet anyway, it’s about the birth pains and tribulations on the journey to make his adventures fit for the world, still very much a work in progress…
Through the next few blog posts I wanted to share my writerly experience over the last three months. After years of typing, typing, typing and securing an agent (2009) and turning down a contract (2010) I’m finally getting to work with an editor and a community of writers (Golden Egg Academy) that are really helping me move things forward.
What I’ve learnt in the last three months is powerful medicine for all of us with the sheer audacity to think we have stories inside us the world might want to hear.
Round The Writing Circle
“Writing for me is largely about rewriting.” Khaled Hosseini
If we accept that the words and story don’t fall out of our heads and land on the page in exactly the right order; if we accept we are fallible and our creativity’s a hose attached to unreliable plumbing, we need to ask ourselves this question:
Is there an easier way to generate a story?
I mean, an easier way to get from A to B through the narrative arc without that maddening planes-circling-Heathrow feeling that can sometimes absorb so much of our writerly lives.
You must have experienced it (if it’s just me, do say) as you try to push ahead with your story and find yourself circling, circling, circling, not knowing exactly which route to take and what to put in or leave out. For example, backstory; we all need them and they’ve got to go in somewhere, but when and how much and where in the narrative will deliver the most effective impact on the reader without slowing the story down. And how do we look down objectively on our work to ensure we’ve got the reader’s perspective, so our efforts are ready and waiting to do the job in their minds – namely, evoking people, plot and places – without literally spelling it out for them.
If we’re not very careful beyond the initial exuberance of beginning and the wild ideas that might literally tip us out of our dreams at night, we can very quickly become disorientated, losing sight of the story woods amongst the wordy trees.
This writing circle, endlessly round and round, is often self-perpetuating; we write ourselves into it which means we think we can write ourselves out of it. But writing ourselves out of these creative cul-de-sacs can at best be inefficient, at worst, a very effective way to totally desiccate your creative soul. Each successive draft might feel as if it moves things on, but your instincts are telling you that’s it not quite in the right direction and certainly not in a manner that means you’ll get there any time soon.
So what’s the answer? In the next post we explore The Way Round…