Like Water Over Rock

Original located at http://www.pbase.com/kekpix/image/58276518

It seems that more often than not, stories in popular media from novels to motion pictures spring fully formed from the heads of their creators. Like Athena emerging from the cranium of Zeus, except she’s a goddess and a lot of these stories are more likely to ride the short bus than a blazing chariot. The idea get into the writer’s head, they put it down on paper and immediately rush to get it published or made into a movie – and that, right there, is the problem.

It takes nine months to form a new human being. Good food takes upwards of half an hour to prepare properly. Carving a statue out of wood, painting a miniature for a game – see where I’m going with this? These things take time.

Natural diamonds are the result of hundreds if not thousands of years of pressure on something that doesn’t look anything like a diamond. A story properly developed is a bit like that, in that odd things stick out that prevent the overall product being smooth. You need to work it over and over again, smooth out the rough patches like water moving over a rock. The more time spent refining the ideas and plot points of the story, the smoother the overall result will be.

4 Comments

  1. Huz-freaking-zah.

    One of the most irritating things about writing is getting comments from friends and family along the lines of “I don’t know why you don’t just send something off”. It got to the point that, aside from a select few, I don’t discuss my ideas with other people because they don’t understand that there is a process involved with turning an idea into something that will rock your eye sockets. Those few people I talk to about this sort of thing actually help shape my work just by discussing it, and to them I am eternally grateful. For me, these people are hard to come by. My main source of feedback lives four thousand miles away, and paying an outrageous phone bill to hear him ask questions I never would have considered is an investment well made.

    Every writer has their own process of making that work happen. It may not start out as obfuscated as solid rock, but eventually you form and shape, chipping away bit and pieces until you have a statue of an absurd metaphor (see what I did there?).

    Do you mind if I use this post to glaze onto stationary when I send letters to people? Maybe it would sink in.

  2. I think that’s an excellent idea. Go for it.

    I’m glad you have a resource you can use to shape your work. I was kind of operating without one for a while, and then I met my wife.

  3. Love this site…how can that be possible when I don’t even know you.

  4. The site is an extension of myself – by knowing it, in a way, you get to know me.

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