On The Deep Mysteries Of Writing

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

There is a lot of magic in the art of storytelling – the writer sits down, furrows his or her brow, and a world spills from their fingers.  People emerge who’d never been there before, and begin to have adventures.  It’s a mysterious, unfathomable Process that cannot be fully explained to mere mortals.
Or so writers would tell you.
Look, I’ve done a fair amount of writing in my time, and yes, sometimes you wake up and the faeries have sprinkled dust in your ears and lo, a story springs onto the page.
But most of the time I’m sitting down to the keys after eight hours of work, tired but ready, and today I’m going to fix the awkward dialogue in this scene, and rework the characterization so that Penelope The Heroine doesn’t come off like a complete idiot.  Most days I write not because my head is buzzing like a beehive with Ideas, but because I’m 3,500 words in and one more scene means I can call it a day.
A lot of writing doesn’t spring from pure inspiration, but factual and rather mundane problem-solving, using your skills to fix gaps.  It’s grunge work, occasionally tedious and often plain.
Yet there’s this Mystique about writing, usually perpetuated by chain-smoking young folks at coffee shops, that writing is unto a channel to the Gods, inexplicable to mere mortals, a form of Jedi magic that only the specially chosen can follow.
What’s that?  You have that special power of Creativity, too?  Oh my God, we should totally have sex.
Now, I’m not denying that there’s a value in learning to feed your creative beast properly, but there’s a deeply cynical part of me that says, “A writers’ job is to make things – even boring things – sound interesting.  So of course we’ve made our own profession sound like oracles.”
And a deeper cynic in me says that if all writers were janitors, there would be endless paeans as to how the janitorial process requires this zen-like beauty of analying the unwanted things of the world and ushering them to a final resting place.  And janitors could pick up chicks like that.

2 Comments

  1. Skennedy
    Feb 8, 2012

    … sounds like an interesting story.

  2. John Perich
    Feb 9, 2012

    My thoughts on this: let me show you them.

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