I am a Melbourne based writer, primarily of speculative fiction. I find the writing process fascinating; the links below include examples of my work, fiction and non fiction, but also another story. How has a chapter evolved? How have places and the fictions of others informed and inspired my own. How do I research, develop ideas and turn them into narrative? Each page offers a different insight into the work and the story behind the work.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scaffolds of creation

The Witing Process page of this website is very much at an early stage; it is an area of the website whose genesis requires a lot of careful thinking, so it has ended up cooking at a much slower simmer than many other components of this project.

On this page it is my intention to present my findings from introspecting my own writing process, as a series of concepts or images. For example, the Kernels of Fascination section on the page will be about the way I have found it useful to 
bait the reader's curiousity by seeding unresolved questions or hooks of intrigue into the narrative of a story. 

I was inspired to create this Writing Process page - what is really a mini-project in itself - by reading the two volumes of Doris Lessing's autobiography (more information below), in which there are several extended passages where she introspects her own writing process in considerable detail. Lessing doesn't uses a series of images exactly, but she does at one point discuss the notion of wool gathering, which is what gave me the idea for the Writing Process page. In general this means daydreaming and has a fanciful or pointless connotation, but Lessing shows how for a writer it is an essential, legitimate and productive part of the creative process.

The image above is an example of a writing process image I have been thinking about of late. In this case I have also started to draft some thoughts to explore the image and what it means to me as a writer more fully. 

The image shows, of course, scaffolding being erected in preparation for the construction of a ship. I choose this image because it reminds me of how I may write a lot of prose or entire sections of a novel which do not make it into the finished draft, but they seem to be necessary preparation for the creation of the actual scenes or passages that do.

The path to bringing an artwork into being in many media and forms seems so contradictory, mischievous and even maddening. Sometimes it just happens, but oftentimes it seems to following phases of determination, sometimes premature confidence and delicious delusion punctuated by others of doubt, reappraisal and detachment.

There are times when what seems like a thing or creation in itself, is only the preparation for what finally emerges. When people have not experienced many many of these unpredictable circumstances, and persisted until the final work is before them, they can become terminally disillusioned with what they have done and abandon it. Yet, while it seems like a broken framework, like the bones of something that was once alive, really it is the essential scaffolding for the act of creation.


If you would like to learn more about Lessing's autobiography (and I would certainly recommend these books, particularly if you are interested in writing), below is some information on the books, reproduced from the list of non fiction books on the Researching Fictional Realities page of this website. 

Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949 and Walking in the Shade: Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949 -1962: Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949-62
Doris Lessing
This is the two volume autobiography of Nobel Prize wining writer Doris Lessing, a white colonial native of the former state of Rhodesia, who has lived in the United Kingdom for many decades and is now in her 80s. She has written both general fiction and science fiction. This might not be specifically useful for building realities, but Lessing is very interested in how writing works, and introspects her own consciousness to discuss the writing process in some depth. I found it useful for understanding more about how writer’s construct realities and themselves through the writing process and hence understand and improve my own writing process.

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