I was reading a post on the writer’s digest site on collaboration. I got to thinking about my writing process. I don’t really collaborate with another author per se, but I do draw from my experiences around me. Someone who has wronged me becomes the next personification of a villain, someone I love becomes the interesting companion or aide to the main character. Our lives are in a constant state of collaboration I think.
Our society is so interconnected it is difficult to claim an original idea, but to claim an original telling … now that is the key. My collaboration consists of querying those I trust and absorbing their feedback. I do not always use their words verbatim, in fact I never do. I take what I am told and let it be an inspiration.
When I ask a good friend of mine, “What should I call this vehicle, it is like a snowmobile, but much bigger.” I then proceed to describe in detail the purpose of the machine and the intent I want to accomplish. We’ll go back and forth, forward and back, until we’ve arrived on a consensus. The conversation goes something like this:
Me: hey! I have an idea for a land vehicle, it is large and triangular, it’s like a snowmobile, but not. I need something to call it.
Friend: Hmm. Okay. What about calling it a Snow Destroyer!
Me: Hmm. IDK, maybe something a bit more subtle. Like Snowrunner, or snow-motor.
Me: Hmm. I like both of those, Snowduster and Snowskipper.
Friend: What if it is both?
Me: What do you mean?
Friend: Well like some people call it a skipper and others a duster.
Me: Ohhh, I like that idea. I’m using it.
Friend: Then it could be like a running joke, no it’s a Snowduster what’s a snowskipper?
Me: Ha! Excellent.
Needless to say this is a regular occurrence. In fact, I have used a number of conversations like this to draw the muse from its hiding. Stephen King in his book On Writing said:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
This always rang a particular note within my soul. It cuts to the heart of how I feel about reading and writing in general, but it also rings on another note. That note is that in reading we see and absorb how to write and the feel of writing comes by osmosis. This is as much a collaboration as any, more abstract and missing the face to face communication, but it is a collaboration.
Inspiration comes in many forms, anger, fear, joy, love, lust, rage, all of the above. Each of those emotions comes from a place of melding with other minds and sharing experiences. Just my thoughts for today. Until next time.
Your friendly neighborhood author,