Saturday, December 20, 2008
On Writing ....
When I picked this picture, I consciously picked it because it was one I took or at least it looked like it at the time - with three photographers around and the number of people that were at this particular event - its hard to tell who's is who's. But it does go with what I want to say today. I was searching the archives at Oh Get A Grip earlier, because they had done a segment on Heroes at one point and wanted to refresh it in my brain, hoping they had said in a different way than I had in order to explain to someone I know about characters and there flaws - specifically the hero. Her (the friend) stance is that the hero is perfect and doesn't need to grow and the heroine is not perfect and has to do all of the compromising and growing - *eyebrow raised* - the reason because it was done in the 70's and 80's. Huh? The only thing I could tell her at the time was to read contemporary novels because that is what is being accepted as far as characterization goes. She was going to research - and research is good and necessary - some business term which didn't seem to play a large role in the story. We didn't argue over it - there was no reason - I did tell her that as far what she described to me - it was a descent beginning, but it didn't seem like there was an actual plot there. Why was there no reason to argue - I know this person, consider her a friend and sister by another mother - part of my friend-family - and there are things that people must learn themselves. As far as she was concerned a perfect hero was acceptable - I cringe at any perfect - flawless character as there are no flawless people. There are other things that I cringed at to, but that is part of my history - I don't see the necessity of the heroine - any one character really - making all of the compromises and growth.
Oops, getting sidetracked - what I did find at the Grip site (among others) was a segment on Responsibility - the responsibilities we as writers have to - others, our editors, our readers, and ourselves. We could through in - helping other writers who are newer in the craft than we are ourselves. It would fit.
I will get her a list of books that might help her - she thinks very linearly, and doesn't wander far from her comfort zone, with a thing for self-help books and life-coaching - so the books will help her. I found it hard to out into words what I have always been able to do - not always well - but always nonetheless - and that is to tell a story. To know that even the simplest story (unless its the beginning reader books with one sentence per page - and even then) is complex and multilayered. The greatest stories - have layers upon layers some of which can only be seen after re-reading them or looking for them - This can be taught, by the right teacher for the right student - but it only works if the student is willing to acknowledge that they don't know everything and is willing to learn. I am not her teacher. I don't want to be.
I don't know if its because she is my friend or because I don't want to teach. Its a topic that I have never come across with writers - how do you deal with the person who decides to become a writer - after you - they went to school for something else, have pursued something else, and then they decide they also want to be writers - maybe because it must be easy after all you do it. I find it odd that I can be supportive of one friend who wants to be a writer - and I met her through Civil Air Patrol (CAP) eons ago but not of others - the ones that casually mention they were thinking of participating NaNoWriMo or they are working on the story. Maybe its because the one friend from CAP and I have bounced ideas off from each other and offered advice on a sticky part of the book we were working on. Maybe because the friend who writes and has written for a while has the battle scars from writing even though she doesn't pursue publication at this time. She's good enough, and has a good voice and great potential - she'll get there when she's ready - if she wants to. My other friend - this is the first time she's mentioned it. And I admit that there was spike of jealousy - probably because among the 10 friends that we have in common I was the only writer - I am a student going for a med degree - while they are professionals - and mostly all married, but I am the only writer. Following patterns and coming up with new needlepoint designs requires some creativity, but it is not the kind that develops new worlds and culitvates it and peoples it and then tosses the world upside down like a snow globe in order to put people together to over come some almost insurmountable obstacle.
I lost my train of thought along the way about what I was going to mention about responsibility. I'm sure there was a tie-in somewhere - maybe it goes with our responsibility to ourselves or to those that follow - I'll remember and write it right later.