by Carol St.Ann
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Biographical · #1336471
We're all different. That's what makes it art.
|It never ceases to amaze me when I think of how many ways we can differ from one another, especially when we are so much alike.|
My friend, Barb, and I enjoyed a rather wonderful conversation the other day, about how we write.
Barb and I met on a message board, built in honor of a favorite TV show, back in 2001 and immediately became admirers of one another. It was not so much because we liked each other’s point of view about the show in question, although we certainly did that. It was more because we connected to something in each other’s writing.
Eventually, we took our board friendship to the next level: email. For the next few years, we managed to stay away from anything that might reveal our personal information. By 2004, however, we decided that it would be all right to let the other know that we lived in the US. After another month or two, we allowed as to which State we called home. Funnily enough, we discovered that we live in the same state. Indeed, all this time, as the bonds of friendship were being defined, we were no more than thirty minutes apart.
I don’t imagine I need to tell you that we became inseparable after that; well, as soon as we stopped laughing, that is. It might amuse you, though, if I told you that we became known to our mutual and separate circles of friends as “Lucy and Ethel!"
One of the things we love to talk about and share is our love of writing. We read and critique each other’s work to oft times hilarious outcomes. It has been a great ride thus far, and I hope it continues way into our old age.
Just recently, I shared bits of a story on which I am working and Barb expressed curiosity about how I write. We were both astounded, upon further discussion, to learn how different our methods are. I would go so far as to say they are worlds apart.
Barb likes to formulate a story in her head and write it from start to finish. Something inspires her and she is off and running. She is able to tell the entire story right from the start. Rarely is the finished product different from her original vision. I find this stunning and amazing.
I, on the other hand, grab inspiration whenever and wherever it presents itself and write snippets. Mostly conversations or brief descriptions. Descriptions being a forlorn look or an outdoor scene. For me, they are the skeleton upon which I build my story. I weave the story around and through them. Like Barb, I am also able to tell the entire story right from the beginning. Unlike Barb, however, I rarely arrive at the original destination of intent. I often have to make a detour because one of the characters will start to dictate, introducing me to information I had no knowledge of until that moment. In these cases, I am always glad my story did not have a definitive shape beforehand. Barb finds this equally stunning and amazing.
What’s more, we have each tried, as a personal challenge, to write employing the method of the other. We could not do it.
To take this a step further, we compared our little black notebooks. I have four. Barb has only one. Mine is a hodge-podge of random thoughts and passages with annotations, arrows, colored marks, references markers, circled selections, vocabulary notes, doodles, and drawings. Barb’s is neat and tidy with perfectly articulated thoughts and not a hint of rambling anywhere.
All in all, there is no right or wrong way to write. It's an art. Some people are better than others. Some take the long way, some take the short way. Some type, some use a computer, still others prefer longhand. We all write for the love of expression. That is the tie that binds.
We understand each other's giddiness and the desperate need to share when we have a story formulating in our heads. Likewise, we know when the other needs solitude - and we know why. We know what it is like to love a character - even someone hateful. We understand that no matter how hateful a character may be, he or she came to being in the mind of the writer. We know how it feels to have a character hurt or be hurt. How one can become depressed in real life, even go into a kind of mourning when the story goes in that direction.
What a joy to share these things and know there is understanding in the heart of the beholder.