Monday, December 1, 2008

Mad Scientists of the Written Word...

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”-- Albert Einstein

Hah! Nor would it be called “writing.” *wink* We are mad scientists of the written word. We start with the germ of an idea… “What if…?” and begin our process of experimentation. Set the stage, shove in the players and let’s see what dastardly circumstances we can conjure up. Pit falls and red herrings, misdirection and misconception, we’re more than ready to throw every obstacle in our character’s way. Happily Ever After becomes the cheese dangling at the end of the maze.

Yet strangely enough, the kinship we feel with our characters blossoms out of a shared struggle. Both fictional characters and author are racing down one blind corridor after another. The distinctions blur. It becomes impossible to discern who needs that Happy Ending more, the hero and heroine or the author herself. The struggle for a resolution is shared, and just as our heroes and heroines need an extra push, so do we. In our wacky experiment, the perfect ending is as enticing and as elusive as that fragrant end-of-the-maze cheese.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” –Albert Einstein

Deadlines, markets, editing and endless rewrites, all are obstacles that every author must face. Yet, it could be that our biggest obstacle is really our own damn selves. When the pressure of pushing forward becomes too intense we’re sorely tempted to pull away. To let go the effort. To even… *gasp* give up. And, if we’re going to be realistic, sometimes the only way to renew our faith is to retreat for a time. Retreat, rather than surrender. Approach the knotty problem from another direction, sometimes that’s all it takes to find the solution.

“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” --Albert Einstein

So writers then must balance between pushing forward and knowing when to pull back just enough to revitalize our spirits.

Plus, of course, there’s one nagging little issue. We’ve covered this before but it bears repeating. Writers Create Something Out of Nothing. And in the barest beginning of our experimentation, the idea may seem a little… well… Out There.

“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” --Albert Einstein


One of the trickiest dilemmas aspiring-to-be-published writers experience is to magically discover somewhere deep in the cavern of imagination The Utterly Brilliant and Unique Idea. No matter how agents will assure you that Great Writing Tops All, the truth is, unless you’ve dreamed up that one-of-a-kind twist and offbeat hook, they’ll toss your query aside without a qualm. *shakes fist* So… Give your imagination free rein! Imagine a world where the absurd rules. As actors are often told—Play it big, then pull back. When the story is being created, brainstorm first. Second-guess later.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” --Albert Einstein

Questions will often take you farther than answers ever will. Which is why so many writers love techniques like the “character interview.” Remember, in fiction, there’s no handy answer guide. There’s no blueprint to follow. You’re soaring on wings of imagination and there are no limits. After reading an article on poltergeists and telekinetic activity being linked to adolescent girls, Stephen King’s mind lingered on his own experiences in school. How certain girls were singled out and picked on. Teased, bullied, pushed around… What if a young girl’s angst exploded in telekinetic activity? What might she do? Scary thoughts, yet the speculation led to a published (and bestselling) novel.

Yet sometimes we do worry. We wonder if it’s worth it. Wonder if we can write one more page, send out one more query, come up with one more idea. This is a quandary we all relate to. Writing is exhilarating but also exhausting. My idea is this… Remember the old saying that the journey is the destination? There’s something to that. What is our end goal here? I say that every story we write enriches our lives. Every page we finish and every idea we explore. We are stronger and more creative as a result. So… even if just for a week or even a day, let’s try something new…

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” --Albert Einstein

Let’s recognize that our writing is valuable. Let’s open up each document and think how incredible a gift we have—we write. We Create. We are the Magic-Makers. We are writers…

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? We had a veritable feast. Yumy-yum-yum. Now, after too much turkey and just one more slice of pie, I’m ready to get back to work. How about you?

Ready to set goals?

One more month until we begin a new year. Although many scramble to find extra time in December, We Are Writers. And what do writers do? We write!

So... let's Go-go-GO!!



deboradale said...

Okay, you know what you have to do Chiron? You have to add audio to your blog so you can cheer us on with your words and your enthusiasm in your own voice. I LOVE this post - though I'm not surprised since I love all of your posts. Energized and excited, I'm going to WRITE!

Misty Evans said...

I agree with Debbie - it would be so cool to hear you cheer us all on, Chiron!

Writing for me is about asking why. Every time my characters want to do something, I ask, "why?" Then answer, "Because..." So I ask why again and again, until I get to the heart of their motivations and goals. Sometimes those motivations and goals mirror mine. :)

Happy writing!

Karen Johnson said...

I have to agree, too. Audio would be awesome with your posts. Your posts are always invigorating and motivating. Thanks so much for the push I need sometimes to slog on!

Miss Mae said...

No pie for me...I just now snacked on peanut butter and crackers. Now, what kind of crazy writing can meaningless food like that simple produce??

(Probably something that's evident it came from a mind filled with gooey peanut butter...hmm...)

maymeholcombe said...

This is your absolute best Essay - in my humble opinion!
Thanks, Chiron.

Chiron said...

Ah, Debbie! You are such a dear. *blush*

Thanks so very much...

Huge hugs and then... WRITE!!


Chiron said...

Thanks, my dear Misty!

So "Why" is the key word for you. I love it. You really do go on a journey with your characters.


Smiles to you!

Chiron said...

Hello Karen!

Wow. After three comments my mind is really trying to wrap around the idea of adding audio. *laughs*

Okay. First I publish the essays and then I put out the audio version. *chuckle* You guys are good for my soul...

Thanks so much, my dear!

Now... Go-go-GO! Write-write-WRITE!

Chiron said...

Hmmmm... Miss Mae, I'm thinking with your snack food we're talking deserted island. *grin* Or maybe a lone couple trapped in a wintery cabin with nothing but a roaring fire, peanut butter and crackers, and a bottle of champagne.



Smiles to you!

Chiron said...

Aw, Mary Ann... Bless you!

I truly appreciate your kind words.

And by the way... HUGE congrats on your contract!! *enthusiastic applause* Woo-hoo!!

Smiles and hugs,

Sandy said...

I agree with everyone who wants audio. That would really get us going. Great post as usual.


Linda LaRoque said...

Chiron, I don't know how you do it--work on your novels and come up with these wonderful essays on a regular basis.

As always, this one is right on the mark. And if anyone can figure out how to add music to your blog posts, it will be you.

Thank you for the encouragment.


Chiron said...

Sandy, you're a treasure. Thanks for the thought! You never know...


Smiles and hugs,

Chiron said...


Thanks so much for stopping by! I love the thought of adding music to my blog. It's definitely something to consider.

Keep writing and congrats on your great reviews!

Smiles and hugs,

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm sort of ready to set goals. LOL!
Christmas is getting in the way. :)

Great post, though!

Chiron said...

Jennifer, I so relate! *laughs*

The other day I whipped through my work so I could go outside and freeze my fingers off stringing up lights. Wouldn't you know the day after we finished, the temperature rose ten degrees!


But it really does look pretty out there... *happy sigh*

Thanks for stopping by!