I’m still recovering from the whirlwind, drinking-from-the-fire-hydrant, otherwise known as Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. There is still much to process, I haven’t even looked over my notes, received my Dad’s, or the audio recordings of all the courses neither of us were able to attend. Yet, there is already a clear take away, two actually, settling in.
The first is simply a word, albeit an important one. IMAGINATION.
Not just my imagination either, but more important – the reader’s imagination. I’m seeing that one of the best things about story regardless of format is that the ‘consumer’ of the story interacts by using their imagination. In a written or audio story they often know more about what is going on in the character’s heads and hearts but they need to use their imagination to piece together what everything looks, feels, and smells like. In a movie they know what things look like but need their imagination to piece together what character’s think and feel. Either way, their imagination is a critical component of the story, so I need to write with them in mind, not just the story itself.
The other take-away is that the craft, skill, art, and talent of story telling is just as important as the story itself. If you want your story to actually be heard, there is attention to the craft of storytelling that needs to be applied. This isn’t new information, I’ve been taking writing and creative writing classes since I was a child. But there is a new level of freedom in knowing that editing and re-writing is a part of writing, and that the pressure to get it finished needs to come under the desire to make it the best I can possibly make it. So bring it on, edit number four – now it is time to apply what I learned, and make this the best I can.
Always interesting to see what others came away with as well – feel free to share
I have been working on one particular scene the last few days. It is the very moment that the King loses his mind. Here is what I have to work with from the account in Daniel.
“The same hour was the thing fulfilled, upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.” Daniel 4:33 (KJV)
This passage captivates me, it is absolutely fascinating. How was he driven? What was it like for the King? What was it like for those that witnessed it? Who was there? Where did it happen? How did it look, feel, and sound? How long does it take for his physical appearance to change? What do nails like birds claws look like, and how does a man eat grass? And that’s where the process of writing comes in!
For me, the process of writing is very simple.
1. I pray.
2. I see the scene play out in my mind’s eye, usually like I’m there.
3. I write down what I see. I don’t see it all at once though, it usually comes as I write, which makes the process more like watching a movie, than writing.
While I’m writing my mind feels like a gymnast on a huge trampoline, flipping and bouncing through time and space with ease, it’s as easy as breathing to let my imagination roam into each of these questions and see an answer. I love the experience of using facts, from an actual true story, as a road map, and then breathing life into them. It just trips me out that this actually happened to King Nebuchadnezzar? It’s just wild to think about?
Here is what William Blake thought he might have looked like. It’s close to what I think but not really, feel free to share what you think?