Thursday, November 6, 2014

Unicorn Farts

The main reasons I read and write (and play tabletop/computer games, for that matter) are escapism, straight up. That’s probably one of the reasons I start with setting in my development process.

I start with this explanation to show that I totally understand wanting to make something near and dear to your heart a special experience or relating to it as such. That being said:

This is straight up horseshit.

Ideas do not come to any writers from some mystical plane filled with elves and spaceships (or rape and dick chopping, depending on what you're doing).  Sure, sometimes writers get inspired, everything comes together and the words come like conversation with an old friend.  There's nothing magical about that beyond being in the right state of mind.  You can have good days where you're really on the ball for a lot of things, but nobody is going to romanticize the source of your incredibly well-crafted and presented spreadsheet.

Ideas are spurred by something, even if we can't nail down what that something is immediately.  Apply a little introspection, trace back your thoughts and there's an excellent reason you had the idea you did.  We don't need to talk about it like we're traipsing about a world of dreams.  That kind of does a disservice to the hard work writers put in to what they put together.  It also discourages introspection that may allow a writer to dig down and understand themselves and use that understanding to improve their craft.

On the same vein, language like "I'm just listening to my characters talk to me" is, while a nice internal paradigm, unnecessarily mystifying the process when we talk to people.  I suppose my concern is primarily with those who wish to become writers or who are relatively new to the craft.  I can see where it would be disillusioning to conceptualize writing as a fairy tale adventure when really it's mostly just hard work.  When I'm creating a character, I'm imagining a person and, essentially, role playing them to myself.  I do not have a telepathic connection to some other person somewhere, as much as I would like to.  I make very conscious choices about how a character works, and saying "it just comes to me" isn't going to help somebody else who wants to write.

Basically I'm just angry that this wasn't a documentary.

As a closing note, though, I don't want to discourage these paradigms for internal consumption or among groups of writers that are well past the point where they might mistake Fairyland with the Word Mines.  If everyone's on the same page, great!  No harm no foul.  In talking about writing to wider audiences, though, one might want to consider the realities behind our fiction. 

No comments:

Post a Comment