Emerging writers – continued

Elaine Forrestal presenting a workshop to emerging writers.

It sounds ridiculous but one of the most important things that a writer must do is learn to let go. Most often people frown, or look sideways, or shake their heads when I say this. Writers are in control of their story – aren’t they? The words come into their heads, they write or type them onto a page, the story develops in the way the writer intends.

No. It’s not quite as simple as that.

The writer has an idea. A character develops. But if that character is going to become real for the reader the writer then has to pause and listen. Let the character speak, take a step back and loosen that tight control that we would all love to think we have. It’s not easy to do. In fact it is one of the most difficult things for any writer. But giving the character, and the reader, space to expand into the roles they will play is crucial to producing a successful story.

So once you have your idea and your story is beginning to take shape, relax. Let it run around in your head. Write bits and pieces of it, but be prepared to trash them as the story begins to take on a life of its own. You may find it’s not even a story after all. It may be a poem, concise and rhythmical. Or it might be a full-blown novel of War and Peace proportions. The story will dictate its own length, shape and form. You just need to stay true to your creative idea and be prepared to put in a lot of hard work – as much as it takes.

Leave a Reply