Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Secret life of Stories

It is not just people who have secret lives. I was intrigued and gratified to read Stephen Woodfin's blog about getting his head down and writing where he refers to allowing the story to take him where it will. I feel the same when my story is flowing along in fact it is often the case that I cannot type fast enough as the story drives me along then 1000 words seem only to take minutes. Is that a case of the 'tail wagging the dog'? I think not. I like to believe that the energy created by the story is the power of creativity. This quote from Maya Angelou I find extraordinarily satisfying. When writing in this 'zone' I feel energised and could take on the world. So if you have that urge to write my advice would be just do it!
Of course the corollary to all this is who do we write for? My response would be that I write for myself. Rather like the mountaineer being asked why climb a particular hill and giving the response - 'because it is there'. I have had the urge to write for many years going back to being quite a young man in my twenties and thirties I used to write poetry. It was of rather dubious quality but it was the birthing pains of what I really wanted to do. 
Another purpose is to have others read what you write and here is where I have a serious problem that stems from the personal nature of my reasons for writing. I cannot take criticism. This could be also in part be due to my mental make up but I never ask for reviews any more, not because I've had a bad review but because emotionally I can't cope with negativity. Rather than expose myself to that I don't put myself in that position. I suppose it is pathetic as constructive criticism is of great value but what I write is mine!
So of those people who read - what is it I'm trying to do for them? Well I would sum that up by saying if a person reads my book I hope they will engage with my characters and feel that there is something in the way they are constructed that is satisfying and encourages further exploration. The final quote below sums up what I want my readers to feel:-

More of your brain is involved when reading than it is when you watch television... because you are supplying just about everything... you're a creator. (Margaret Atwood)

God Bless