The writer’s mind is like a basket.
Initially, during the nascent years, the basket holds gross instructions and blatant rules: a. watch your use of passive. b. mind your use of filler words. c. adverbs – don’t! And so on and so forth.
Later the basket fibers get infused with the earlier concepts which become second nature (hopefully). But still the basket is full. d. mind your dialog tags. e. avoid cliches. f. use specific attribution – don’t generalize.
And later still: g. show don’t tell, h. maintain proper POV. i. mix your sentence lengths.
And later and later and so on and so forth, ad nauseam (and I am indeed nauseous at this point).
At every stage the writer’s mind remains a basket. A basket that has been soaked and saturated with the nuance and persuasion of a dozen, a hundred lessons before it. But still, it’s full. Full of the next set of applicable aspects of “writing well.”
And yet, the agonizing march proceeds. ARRGH!
Regardless of saturation level, the basket is full of all those subtleties that the most advanced writer wishes to instill in their stories, their characterizations, their depictions of a reality that exists only in their own minds — but will, with luck, live in their reader’s.
Jesus! Will it ever end?
No. Apparently not.
My basket, it over-floweth.
3 thoughts on “The writer’s mind: a basket”
Get a bigger basket?
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My father used a saying that I will modify here. Mole, goddammit, you could overthink a crowbar. Tell your story, in your voice, your way. There’s not a quantifiable reason literature is literature and the rest is storytelling. And none of us are writing art as we are imbued with a pop culture sensibility so deep as to be mistaken as genetic. There’s one for GF’s bed. Secretly Genetically Modified media consumers. You will buy Taylor Swift…you will buy Taylor Swift…
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Ah, the crowbar… The temper on the steel must be just right: somewhat supple so that it flexes rather than snaps. Who needs a brittle crowbar. But not too weak. Some crystalline structure must still exist for strength.
And then there’s the throat, the amount of bend…
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