THE CONSTIPATED WRITER
Writer’s attempt to do the impossible. Delicately perform a balancing act in order to craft a compelling story. We must be acrobats, ninjas, engineers, artists, gourmet chefs and one heck of a seamstress! It’s almost like peeling an onion though. You write and study relentlessly, trying to hone your craft only to find out there’s yet another layer. By then your’re already crying and can’t see straight; blinded by the daunting task of impossibilities. As if someone demanded you rebuild the empire state building one brick at a time…by yourself. Here are some of the toppings that we have to juggle on a daily basis.
- Characters- protagonists, antagonists, sidekicks, mentors, lovers with all of their complexities and desires.
- Dialogue- interior monologue, subtext, body language, intonation
- Settings- fantasy, historical, urban, cyberpunk
- Conflict and Tension- internal, external, story conflict
- Scenes- structure, actions and reactions
- Character arc-flat arc, positive arc, negative arc
- Theme- thematic question
- Story structure- plot points, actions and reactions
- Narration and POV
- Voice and Style
Sounds pretty complicated? Yep. But the more I realize about the writing process on the one hand, the simpler it gets. In fact, you could sum it all up in one measly two syllable word. Which word is it? *drumroll* You guessed it, balance. I think a well crafted story is ABSOLUTELY, a work of art as it is of balance. I have a health background in physical therapy so I tend to see things through medical lenses.
Physically speaking there are twelve different interdependent organ systems throughout our body; a trillion cells, working harmoniously to do just ONE THING. Keep us alive? Yes. But more specifically to maintain something called homeostasis. Every organ system although different in function, works towards the same goal. Homeostasis. So what is this homeostasis anyway? It’s our body’s way of maintaining a dynamic state of equilibrium or balance, in the midst of a changing external environment. When things get out of hand, and trust me they will, bad things will happen. Like, illnesses, sickness, etc these are what we call pathologies in the medical field. Diseases that limit functional ability, progressively deteriorate our brains, and ultimately may lead to death. Exciting eh? Well, writers also have “pathologies” that affect the balance of their writing. Which in turn could make or brake their stories, or even worse, their careers. So I decided to concoct a series dedicated to these type of writing problems, as I experience my own pathology and get rehabilitated by other writers.
THE INFAMOUS INFORMATION DUMP
Since I’ve been studying the craft of writing I’ve heard about the infamous information dump. They’re essentially four kinds of information dumps according to bestselling author and Jedi master KM Weiland over at www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com.
- The Worldbuilding dump
- The Backstory dump
- The Technical dump
- The Emotional dump
As we’re writing sometimes we tend to go overboard; with our prose, splendid descriptions, or the sheer beauty of our own words but these could be completely unnecessary to the plot or overall story. It’s just….information just for the sake of informing. But aren’t we supposed to describe things? Show not tell? Deliberately hook our readers into the endless pages of distant realms of fantasy and romance? Yes, and yes. But if it doesn’t advance the plot, it probably doesn’t need to be there. We need to entrust some things to our reader’s imagination then learn how to skillfully use techniques to sprinkle, and not dump, information at the proper time. But this is easier said than done. That’s part of the balancing act as mentioned earlier that we need to learn. The good part is that we can edit and revise these matters out of our manuscript until it’s squeaky clean. Happily our bodies naturally eliminate whatever is unnecessary and tags it as waste. It could be an overabundance of an element or simply a byproduct of metabolism doomed for the toilet bowl. Sounds like editing and revising to me! If we miss this opportunity our WIP (work in progress) will get bloated and weighted down with unnecessary material. Apparently music legend Elvis Presley died of chronic constipation. I had no idea about this. Yikes, I suppose it’s a fine line this whole writing thing.
WRITERS, BLOGGERS, CREATIVES WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE? DO YOU INFO DUMP? WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROCESS? LET’S TALK IN THE COMMENTS!
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