Friday, October 30, 2009

Primordial Soup

Just as Rowena talked about the different ways that we writers stay inspired, there are no doubt myriad ways in which we all first approached the Muse.

What was the writer's ‘Primordial Soup’? Were you drawn by the prose itself? Did it sing in your head? Did sentences appear before you written in fiery letters?

Or was it a sense of character, building up inside you until you just had to let those critters free on the page? Or perhaps it was emotional – something from your past that drove you to explore a theme that strongly resonated with you. Perhaps you recreate the same emotional landscapes that haunted your childhood, and your protagonist is an aspect of you, saving you over and over again (guilty as charged).

Or was it the ideas themselves? Those Wow concepts that electrified your brain. ‘Oh, my God! What if . .. ?’ And this was so compelling that it drove you to weave an entire world around it, just so you could communicate it? My SF definitely comes into this category (not that I’ve written much lately).

Of course wherever we start, as writers we have to create all the elements of a story landscape – character, setting, conflict. And answer all those questions of Rowena’s – what is the story about? What does the character want? What does the character have to overcome to get there (or try to)? We need a plot – a series of events that define the story and show the character’s journey.

But where did you start? What was the first form of that passion that drove you to the page?

7 comments:

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

What drove me to write was the fact that I had a secondhand book shop. I read everything I could find.

So I had to start writing.

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Rowena. Sounds like the excitment of story itself.

Where was your bookshop?

Kate said...

I literally don't remember a time when I didn't tell myself stories. My earliest memories are being unable to go to sleep and telling myself stories until I drifted off.

What started me thinking I could maybe write them down and - shock! - even get them published was reading a piece of drivel so execrably awful I thought "I can do better than that".

Of course, at first I didn't. I got better at it with practice. Lots of practice. About... oh, twenty years or so between when I started seriously trying to write and when I finally got my first pro credit.

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Kate. I pretty much also lived a dreamworld as a kid - it was a nice escape from the chaos of ten brothers and sisters! I didn't ever connect that with writing - somehow it didn't occur to me. That came much later when I started getting story ideas.

Kate said...

CURSE YOU CHRIS!

You've woken up an idea from waaay back when I was 13 or 14, and it wants its story.

Think post apocalyptic, some hundreds of years after a nuclear war. Small, mostly nomadic tribes, many of them with serious issues with mutation and inbreeding.

One tribe has tamed giant rats with prehensile tails. The men ride them and are rather dashing sorts, and since that tribe has serious issues with girl babies not surviving, they raid other tribes and carry off the young women, get them knocked up, then treat them like princesses - or as princessy as a nomadic tribe of rat riders gets, anyway. Story is a romance and kind of obvious.

::whimpers::

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

The bookshop was in Melbourne. I spent all day reading. It was heaven!

Chris McMahon said...

Nice to be of service, Kate:)

Should you have said 'Rats!'