Thursday, 26 February 2009

You've got to learn somehow.

You know those disclaimers at the beginning of novels that say all the characters in this book are entirely imaginary etc etc.? This is mine. I didn't want to start a new blog with an apology, so I'm going to have a disclaimer instead. Here it is: if you thinks that I am writing about you, think again. The chances are it isn't just you but loads of you and me too, over and over. Who hasn't fallen into the traps that writing scatters before our every step? 

Okay, nuff o' that.

The subheading Creative Reading Matters just as much is really about what I am doing every time someone hands me a piece of work. I am asking myself questions all the time but the main one is does this work? By which I mean, is the writer conveying to me a coherent piece or do I, as the reader have to bust a gut trying to make sense of it? Pretty basic stuff, you'd think, but you'd be amazed. Often, in the class, if the writer is reading their work, then they automatically make it make sense, sometimes with little asides of explanation. This will not do, I say! There is a wealth, a mountainous treasure trove of material out there to look at and learn from. It's called books! 

The downside of writing is that you can very rarely read a book with the abandon of those pre-writing years. Read with attitude! Read with your thinking caps nailed to your head with lots of those plastic covered wiry hair grips and keep asking yourself, how did they do that? What was it about that sentence, paragraph, chapter, plot, character, description, that worked so well/not well? Why did they use that word? And why put them in that particular order? Why not write he ran hurriedly down the street?

This isn't about copying, it's about learning how to use the tools for you to make your piece of music / furniture / work of art / novel.

And its about knowing when to stop because it's getting boring. 

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