By Julie Wu
In fiction, structure is essential, but so is a free and open mind. In honor of the approaching end of the year, I offer you a selection of recent pieces on different aspects of letting go:
In A Book Is Not a Camera, Colin Dickey recalls the worst advice he ever received, from an established writer whose aim was to slavishly imitate life: http://unbridledbooks.tumblr.com/. Young writer, the best writing uses mimesis to create a vision and impart meaning, not to demonstrate skill in mimicry.
In Can You Break the Rules? The Single Screenwriter defies us to break free of the Google herd: http://thestorydepartment.com/can-you-break-the-rules/. Are we really that close to being a Borg collective?
Dave Magee answers an emphatic “No” in his fascinating piece on writing the screenplay for Life of Pi: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/11/adapting-life-of-pi-for-the-big-screen-took-170-script-revisions/265367/#
On the more conventional side, Martha Alderson, The Plot Whisperer, urges us, in an early draft, to let go of the beginning and write straight through to the end of your draft, because The End Determines the Beginning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc4BDUB8zSk&list=UUQQuZN6EzQpCeVbhs07TGQw&index=6&feature=plcp. I couldn’t agree more. I had four different openings to The Third Son. How much time did I waste polishing and trying to hang on to each one of those openings? A lot. Learning experience? Maybe, but I might have learned more, faster, if I’d spent more time thinking about the novel as a whole instead of pushing words around on the first page.
And Laurie Frankel describes how clutching to stability in her real life lets her slash and burn her manuscripts. Now, there’s food for thought: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-true-thing/201211/change-bad-revision-good
While we’re talking about real life, here’s a piece by Sarah McCoy on letting go of your agent to make way for the right one: http://www.themillions.com/2012/11/finding-true-love-finding-a-literary-agent.html
And finally, because I can’t resist, a video demonstrating an undiscovered property of Crocs (that would be what most people just put on their feet and walk in), by someone near and dear to my heart. Because this amazing kid shows how playing around can lead to great discoveries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mj2hniy6yg
May the rest of your Friday be wild and free.