"If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole ofit, he has ...
"If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded and has a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know." - Thomas Wolfe
"Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads." - Erica Jong
Funnily enough, I don't believe there are any magic 'secrets' to writing success. If so, I'm still trying to discover them. So I'll cover this subject very briefly, because I don't know the answers. It's really all common sense, following your basic instincts and having a bit of fun at the same time. Just BE YOU and write what your heart, your imagination tells you to write. The writer or author is a puppeteer, moulding the clay through the words that you choose. You weave the strands of the article or story together, through use of your creative imagination.
You start your article, short story or novel with an idea. You decide HOW you will start: "Once upon a time". (This could be the little child emerging from the depths of your soul). Sounds very "airy-fairy" that, like many "arty farty writer types"!
You perhaps got the plot from a television programme or a newspaper article. The plots of some of my novels came from newspaper articles.
Then you make choices as you go along: to base your story upon fact or fiction, or faction (a mixture of fact and fiction - I like that genre (impressive word that - must use it more often!). You choose the track. You are the director, producer and actor: YOU set the scene, decide whether it is to be local or foreign. It's up to you HOW you describe the landscape or surrounding environment.
You decide on the characters and how you will describe them. To let them live or die? What immense power you have to determine destinies! Whether to have a happy or sad ending? "And they all lived happily ever after...."
A few short words of advice to end off this lesson... Make your writing FUN and get readers (and the editor) "hooked" with a good opening paragraph and an even better opening line.
What do you think of this example by Charles Dickens from "A Tale of Two Cities"?
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
I find it excellent and powerful writing; but quite "heavy reading". What did you think of that style of writing?
How's this for an opening line for a novel?
"James walked into the hotel and it was as if he was struck by a bolt of lightning. He instantly went into a state of shock, as the past ten years of his life flashed through his mind, as in an instant replay. It was too much to all take in in a second. His legs began to tremble, as if they had turned into instant jelly. They could barely hold his slight frame, as he struggled with all his might to hold his body upright. Out of his numbness he could see seated at the end of the bar the face of the man that was indelibly printed on the deepest recesses of his subconscious mind, the striking features that had haunted him all those years. It was the same mysterious man, who in an instant had turned his entire world upside down and consumed James's every waking thought for the past decade."
Was that "a bit over-the-top" writing? "Did I need to say "mysterious man"? Do you want to read on?
Perhaps that could be the first paragraph of my next book? Would you be interested in reading a book with a beginning, like that?
Or this one from my novel "Angolan Dawn"
"It was just getting light with that certain freshness in the air of early morning. Albertina Kangombe saw the figure of her husband Marcelino receding in the distance down the sandy track, walking slowly down the gentle hill. She saw him turn around once to look at her but he could not see the tears of sadness running down her face. She wondered when she would see her dear, strong husband again. He was a tall man but he became smaller and smaller as she saw him gradually receding into the distance on that early January morning. And then he was gone...
Time to end off (I've done enough "work" re-writing this lesson) already....
Stimulate your imagination to the fullest. then go with the flow. Observe life and jot down notes about your thoughts and feelings . Then "make the words dance to your tune".
"Don't spend your days, stringing your instrument - start making your own brand of music right NOW. "
See you next week, when we'll talk more about style and grammar. Oh no, not another boring lesson!
I hope this information may be helpful to you in your creative writing.