Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blowing Shakespeare Through A French Horn

Perhaps because I am knee deep in the 500 th edit of my new manuscript, or perhaps because I enjoy Brian Klens writing. When I read his blog on dialect and dialogue I was struck by his description of trying to force awkward or overdone dialect into dialogue. It is like trying to blow Shakespeare through a french horn.
That particular image brought a smile to my face. It also took on new meaning in my writing.
-When I'm writing a story to try to fit into a certain genre.
-When I am reviewing a book and didn't enjoy the story.
-When I don't "Know" the experience I am writing, and I can't feel it either.
-When I'm reading and should be writing.
-When I'm writing and should be outlining.
As writers we are also creatives. Our imaginations, experiences, emotions, and illusions need space to roam.
Much the same as the music from the french horn must wrap it's tone and timing around the soul. Your words must be free to travel their own paths.
Much as the characters and scenery of Shakespeare cannot be embraced in lyrical notation. Neither can characters and setting be dug straight out of research.
One of the best pieces of advice I got from a writer was:
"No writer can or does "Know" every situation their characters find themselves in. A great writer will learn the logistics of the scene. Find and expand on the emotion that is common to both the research and the writer.
And tear their own guts out in sobs and tears to write what they "feel".
Throughout my editing process, I loose this gut wrenching feeling. I get tired of reading the same story over and over again until I feel nothing. It's not good when you feel this way about your own work!
It's time to walk away. I'm slaughtering both the horn and the literature.
Its Okay to set aside a manuscript for a while. You need cold eyes to have any objectivity on your own creation. Don't give up, just give it a rest.
What ever you feel your piece is lacking might be the very feeling you don't want to explore yourself. Sit down and put your imagination to work on unearthing the elusive emotion. You might end up writing the theme for Shakespeare on a french horn.

Give yourself the time and space to write something beautiful, and enjoy doing it.

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