Sunday, 30 June 2013

Imagination of a writer

Something that interests me greatly is the mind of an author. 

I have written two novels, during which time I took part in the creation of worlds beyond my power- beyond me. There is something utterly spectacular and incredible in the emergence of a character. I have often had conversations with my sister over the journey of writing a book, I tried to explain in the simplest way possible that it was not I who decided upon the plot or what actions took place, that it was the characters themselves; I was merely recording all they showed me! She half-believed me. Since then I have heard of authors saying the same thing. 

I have just finished reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and was captivated by the power evoked by the characters. It means so much to me to think that she too had these 'people' absorbing her mind night and day, just as my own characters had evaded my inmost privacy. 

I like to think of Emily out walking upon the heath and image her muttering to Heathcliff, asking him what his next action would be. It's an inspirational process to say the least.  

Reading Charlotte Bronte's introduction to the novel, I found a statement that I could not resist in posting. I hope those of you who already understand will be united  with fellow authors of this world, departed and living, and those of you who can't quite understand, will at least have more sympathy to those who do have active imaginations! 

“But this I know; the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master--something that at times strangely wills and works for itself. He may lay down rules and devise principles, and to rules and principles it will perhaps for years lie in subjection; and then, haply without any warning of revolt, there comes a time when it will no longer consent.”


  1. I totally agree in what you said about the characters telling you their stories rather than you devising the plot! :)

    I myself believes that all authors are people who can look into an already existing world (instead of inventing such a world)...

    But you said that you have written two novels! Oh it lighted a fire in me! I sooOoOoOOoOoo want to read them and please forgive me for being unable to rest, for having no peace, until I read them!!!

    What are they about?? :)

    I confess that I have already looked into worlds of my characters (I already have these stories on my mind) but I never had the time to put them into paper nor type them on the computer...

    Please tell me some advice on how you managed to write those 2 novels? Have you prepared stretches of hours where no one could disturb you and you just wrote and wrote? Or you didn't prepare such hours but merely wrote in little spare moments?

    How many hours or minutes were you having every writing session?

    With studies, I surely could not write these days... But lately I have this itching feeling to try my hand on a play! :D Of course there would be no people to perform it, but I'm so into rhetoric these days! (especially a lover declaring his words of love for his Lady!)
    Have you written those two novels during the study months, or you only wrote during holidays?

    1. You should find time to write, always, even if it is a little bit every week.
      Some advise? Well, my fist novel was completed when I was 16. I wrote it out over about 2 years though into many writing books. That was before I had a computer of my own. The thing with that is that I would leave it for so long that there was a danger of not remembering enough. Eventually I got all the papers together and I began to type it up. I tried to do this over a couple of months so it was fresh in my mind. Once you get over the middle of the novel- you'll be fine. Sometimes it's so easy to give up half way through.
      And yes I did that over snatches of time when I wasn't studying.

      With my second one, I completed it in 4 months in my gap year after I had finished college. It was a time when I really could devote a lot of time to it. I would sit down every morning for about 3 hours. I loved it, it was hard but so rewarding. The only problem is when you finish it you get very sad because you no longer need to be existing in that world, it is finished and completed!
      I did a lot of research before both of them. But sometimes it's so easy to procrastinate and keep inventing more and more reasons why you just can't start yet. It's the scariest thing- writing the first line. Just think, this may not be it, it most likely won't be, I'll just keep it for now.

      Yes! Go for it! Even if it is just a few ideas or a few lines of speech- write that play :)Write anything, the process is good.

      I also feel restless, I know I need to write another soon, but now is not quite free enough for me- it's been a year since the last.
      They are both very different, but I cannot really describe what they are about. All I can say is that they are historical perhaps with a flavour of all genres, but I don't like genres.

      Go for it Ramon and don't give up :)

    2. Hello Joanna!

      Thank you soOOoOoOoo much for your precious advice and information on how you managed to write those two novels! :)

      Thank you for making me realize that it is actually possible to write novels in just little snatches of time, rather than devoting a whole day for every writing session :) (I have not tried it before because I believed that spending just little snatches of time for writing would not be enough to make me feel so much into" the story, so I thought I might not be able to write it good enough) ..

      But now that you proved it is actually possible to do it with just little snatches of time---I'd try it! :) :)

      Your first was completed when you were 16 in a two-year period. Wow. :D :D I keep imagining your 15 year old appearance (in the video with 22 accents, you kept saying you were 15 years old) and it's so cute thinking that that little girl was already writing a novel!! :) :)

      So you have finished a course in college! What course was it? And these days I'm under the impression that you study about theater in university, don't you? How many years you spent in college? And how many years before you finish your current study in the university?

      Is there any chance at all that you'd let me read your two novels? If it's alright for you to let me read them, maybe you could send them to me in a file through e-mail? Oh I so want to be in the "Joanna world!" so I'm so curious about your novels! :) If you do not choose to let me read them, it's okay, but...I don't know, maybe I'd be a little sad...Oh I just want to know how you tell a story! :D But it's your choice if you do not want me to read them..Maybe you would send me a little excerpt? :) :)

      I have a very important question:
      Do you have any intention for your novels to be published, or you just want it known between your family and friends?

      I wonder what keeps you busier these days compared to last year that you barely have time to write a novel now.. But your studies I believe would not recommence until September? Maybe you're going to be too busy with gardening.. Or maybe you'd attend some friends' party or other social gatherings?

      Sorry, I'm just curious about your way of life.. I'm wondering if you're the same with me: I'm the kind of person who would rather stay at home and do my thing (writing poems or reading books) rather than go to a friend's party or anything social :P (If I can remember it correctly, I have never attended a single party in my whole life except those that are compulsory or a relative's party..but never to any friend's) :P :P

      Thank you for your advice and encouraging words! Now I'd try to write in little snatches of time instead of vainly trying to prepare long stretches of hours which are very likely to be disturbed by people :D :D :D

      Thank you dearest Joanna!

      You wrote: "I also feel restless, I know I need to write another soon..."
      I just feel sooOoOoOOO privileged to be receiving advice from someone who has great passion for writing! Yes! "RESTLESS" is the word to describe it! Many people sneered at the idea of me preferring to be alone at home and do the "boring" writing, instead of going out with friends.
      But I look up to you. For us, when we can't write, we feel so RESTLESS for the "boring" activity of writing! :) :)

      I have already sent you two e-mails in just a week, plus these comments. Will you not feel weary if I send to you the sonnet for July? As you know, I've finished it weeks ago and I so much want for you to read it since! :D

  2. Adressing of creative writing, only a few concepts are importants to me, amongs which developping and exteriorizing, the latter being the most important. Exteriorizing is a difficult and tedious task that only inventive and creative minds can naturally complete. Having the characters decide for the plot is an attempt at exteriorizing.

    I am not talking about automatic writing or full blown improvisation but the fact that characters are kept in a distance from us. We are not our characters. We may not put our words in their mouths, our toughts on their lips. They should not look like us or sound like us. They love and hate with their soul, they laugh and cry with their heart, they pray and reason with their mind. They have eyes to gaze and senses to perceive. When they're pricked, we do not bleed. When they're tickled, we do not laugh. When they're poisoned, we do not die. And when they get wronged, they will revenge or forgive according to their mood and temper. In short, they’re on their own!

    We have to be careful not to invade their habitat, to furnish it with the things we fancy, to be their chaperone or their tutor, and if we have to, there must be another character dedicated to that task. But then again, it’s a difficult business to give birth to such a proxy ! For our part, we should sit still, attending to their acting and waiting for an invitation. They stay away from us, on an island, sometimes on the far side and we have to commute to reach them !

    Many years ago, I jotted down an informal bill of rights for fictional characters, a kind of fundamental law that I had to abide by to keep them moving. It was joke alike but, in the distance, far from devoid of thruth and justification. I kept it on my desk and whispered it anytime I ran despotic or “amok”. Indeed characters need respect, patience and self constraint from us, in order to confront one to another, defy the odds, gods or neighbors, have fun, give love, betray with a knife or a kiss, struggle or idle but always in a way that put the fiction in motion.

    Maybe (surely) I’m stating the obvious but surprisingly there are very few fiction composed in that manner. It is only a personnal belief drawn from my rather unsuccessfull experience. You point at a door I’ve not yet managed to trespass. But if I have not succeeded, some (you ?) surely will!


    1. Thank you Emma, I can see from your writing that you are a good writer, you have seen the truth about the sub-conscious mind, you understand the real haunts of character creation. I an very interested to know some more about your 'rights' for characters, all the things writers must know. In fact I think we all would find it interesting :)

  3. Hello..

    I've taken your advice about writing in snatches of time, and also the advice that you retweeted on tweeter that we should write everyday no matter how little and how awful, because we'd improve :)

    And it's doing very well for me---except one thing. I always got carried away, so the supposed little snatches of time become big amounts of time, and I just don't know how to stop writing when I enjoy it :P

    So that makes me struggle desperately for other things that I have to do! :D :D

    Should I refrain from writing, so that I could get things in order? .. There is just no way for me to write only in little snatches of time because when I promised only ten or fifteen minutes, I add another ten minutes, and another one, until I don't look at the time anymore :P :D

    Have you experienced something the same, or are you always well-disciplined? :)

    1. Don't worry about it too much, I think you should perhaps think about the things that are most important and things that you could do without or not do so much of the time. It's good that you keep feeding your mind and hand, obviously you have a lot to say, I wouldn't try and stop it so finely, because sometimes you will have floods of inspiration and sometimes only a trickling. Do whatever feels best, keep loosely organized but not too much because inspiration is never organized it's spontaneous! As for me, if I didn't have much to do I would give more to my writing, just don't let it die away completely! Good luck

    2. Thank you so much for your advice! Your advice is the only one that makes difference for me :) :)

      Most people would always tell me that I have to "conform" with my "real priorities." But I always believe that my real priority is writing :)

      You are like everything..because not only you make the advice about writing that I prefer to follow, but you're also my inspiration for writing, the one I write about :) :)
      Thank you!