Creative Writing StrategiesComposite Writing Strategies
and creativity seems to be a fickle animal.
Writing Strategies | Writing Group of the Triad
Several authors have found that the path to the realms of fantasy leads through the secret doors of a small happening. The Eleventh Draft, a Frank Conroy novel, features a section called Smallness and Invention in which Canin shared some of the mysteries he learnt on his way to becoming a novelist.
"In my creative writing lesson I concluded that I would like John Cheever in writing that I would look for these long speeches, these long jumps into the worlds of passion and transcendency and the excavated mortal longings that glowed under one torrent in his tales like beads. It seemed to me how far above this crude feeling.
I found Cheever rejuvenating, found his uninhibited emotions electric. So I started writing some of Cheever's great heels. First, Cheever's big, epiphany jumps were almost without exception introduced (and then turned out to be) by heels that collected small, precise details. This seemed to me to be a deeply important finding at first.
As long as I could balance the emotional frenzy that had led me to write in the first place with large quantities of foot watching, I could do it. However, that alone did not make what I had wrote much better, and here I made my second, albeit admitted in Cheever's case, unproven discovery: that the transition from detail to épiphany is not a technology that is used only because of its effect on the readers, but that this is actually how a novelist finds his own work.
It' changing my writing forever. It was I who made the discover that for the author it is not morality or great emotions that are the beginning of a history, but details and small events. I began the next storyline I was writing not with the sense of greatness that had inspired me before, but with a narrower focus.
It didn't begin with a note in my head; I didn't begin with culminating emotion around me; I just began swimming. The thing I found was that when I was writing these things, imagining myself falling down to the filthy bank, imagining myself falling into the cold waters and caressing against the harsh currents, the whole thing came to me.
It wasn't the one I was planning. This seemed to be a tale that came not from me, but from this old salt old fellow swimming in cool waters. Except this was the fevers, not the cause.
Extracts de The Complete Guide to Magazine Article Writing, von John M. Wilson, 1993, Writer's Digest Books.