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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Writing is telepathic alchemy. With kittens.

When you think about it, writing books, or writing of any kind I suppose, is a kind of telepathic alchemy.

I think of a scene.  Let us say, for argument's sake (because you know I love a good argument), that I am thinking of a scene where a woman is sitting reading.  Are we all settled on that image?

So I write, 'I sat down and opened my book'.  You see in your mind
because you are a romantic soul who secretly really wants a big puffy chair, and who likes frocks.  I might see
because I really want to look all slim and lovely in beige, and be able to hold a book up to read it without having to do the squinty thing, where you have to move the book in and out until it's in focus and then read at arm's length because you won't give in and admit you need glasses.  Someone else may see
because that his how they like to read, although I have to question whether that fire is real, I mean, doesn't that look a bit suspiciously tidy for a real fire?  And those logs aren't even burning, are they?

But if you sit and think about it, writing is putting little symbols on the page, which the reader then decodes in their own brain (because you are not allowed to go round and act it out for them, I've tried) into scenes and actions.  So whatever we writers see in our heads as we write, it is never going to be the same as the reader sees when they read.  And yet, somehow, the stories manage to make sense!  Which is why it's important, as writers, to properly build the scene as we go along.  I mean, if you write 'Steve lay in the grass' and they see
and the following line is 'and slowly took off his headphones', they have to retcon what they have imagined to include said headphones.
But if you write 'Steve lay back in the grass, Bach playing through his headphones', then they have the right idea all along!

And all because of those little squiggles we call words.

I lied about the kittens.


Sharon Booth said...

Intelligent point, well made. I have to say, you make some of the best squiggles I've ever seen. And well done on inserting those photos in just the right places. When I try that the photos end up cutting sentences in half and come out all different sizes. Congratulations. Go and have a biscuit as a reward for your achievements...or a Pringle.

Jane Lovering said...

Thank you, Sharon. In the absence of Pringles I had a biscuit. Then I had another one. I think I deserved it, don't you?

Carol Hedges said...

You lied about the kittens!!!!!!!!! I am devastated. I was seeing kittens all the way through. Small, playful kittens frolicking, patting balls of purple wool,and now I am totally devastated. *sigh*

Jane Lovering said...

Devastated by your devastation, Carol, I had to rub myself with a small tabby to get over it. Tune in next week for EXTRA kittens.

Stuart Aken said...

Hi Jane, a bit off topic, but have you considered adding a 'share' button so your readers can easily share your wisdom? It's very simple to do on Blogger.