Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan
We’ve all heard of characters who snatch the reins from their author’s hands somewhere between intent and page. Many of us have experienced it. Now I am coming to realize that it is not only imaginary beings that can inform us of our deeper thinking as we write.
I recently had the happy opportunity to write a guest post for Fantasy Café on the subject of creating alien characters. In the course of that I found myself experiencing deeper insight, not merely into the concept of beings alien to our world, but also into the scientific bases of my invention. In writing about the ways an environment can influence the life within it, I came to see a far broader range of possibility for the senses and other capacities of alien characters than I had previously considered.
In short, I knew more about writing aliens when I finished the post than I had known when I began. I also knew more about the benefits of such characterization for readers as well as for writers of the work.
But such learning is nothing new, is it? There really is something freeing about the act of forming generalized thought into words. Something that opens the gates to deeper understanding.
Ever had a discussion question on a test where you figured out more about the subject than you thought you knew? Yeah. Me too. Even on a physics test once, when a concept that had remained a mystery to me suddenly became clear.
And does it seem to you that writing can be more effective than speech for expressing our deeper, more complex thoughts? It does to me. But then, we do tend to think more deeply and express ourselves more clearly when we write.
Maybe it’s that closer examination that does the trick, that we free our subconscious mind by delving into it and giving it a more fluent outlet.
So the old adage is truer than we knew: we learn to write — and what to write — by writing.
Illustration credit: www.leannepenny.com