Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Inspiration -- Bird by Bird

Anne Lamott starts telling her students that good writing is about telling the truth. This set my thinking in gear. What truths should I tell? How do I know what the truth is? While these thoughts were whirling through my head, I came to one conclusion. My truth may not be your truth. Why?

Truth comes from experiences and no two people experience the same events in the same way. But truth is truth, you might think. Perhaps if one was writing scientific papers they could find truth or could they. They could find facts that are true. There is that. When writing fiction truth takes on color and nuances.

How to get your truth across to the reader can seem to be a puzzle. What a fiction writer must do is to persuade the reader to believe their truths and engross them in the story. Perhaps a hard thing to do.

One of my writing truths is that every character contains a bit of myself. Now sometimes I write about villains. Does that mean at heart I'm a villain? Not really.
What it means that inside myself I have the grains to show the why behind a villain's actions. I've been angry. I've even thought about killing someone, or loving someone, or having magical powers. So when I write about any characters I must delve into myself and find what truth this character will show. Sometimes getting this down on paper can be hard and sometimes easy.

What about you? Do your truths as a writer come from inside? Are you able to persuade your readers to see your truth.


Anonymous said...

Great post and very thought provoking. I keep BIRD BY BIRD by Lamott close at hand at all times for writing inspiration, a good story, or a good laugh. It's a great book for more than just writers in my opinion.
Truth is a sticky, sometimes scary, topic but one we must face eventually no matter what our chosen paths. I find that my journaling keeps me on the path to truth so that my writing work is always fresh. Nice post.
Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity
Who Dares Wins Publishing

Liz said...

looking forward to you discussing bird by bird
thanks - now I don't have to read it -lol

Taryn Kincaid said...

I think you should read it, Liz. (I think everyone should read it.) It's a great book. Funny, too.

JL Walters said...

Liz, You should read it. What I get from the book may not be what you find. These kind of books are like a treasure hunt.