Parsons: What’s your style?
Lee: My style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.
Parsons: The art of fighting without fighting? Show me some of it.
Later is now. In the blog this week I am going to tell you a wee bit about my creative process. I know, stop whining at the back. Some of you will care more about what can be found behind your big toenail that you do about my creative process. But, due to a nudge and two emails I have been tempted to explain a bit about how I do my flash fiction. And to clear up the first mystery it’s the art of writing without writing.
Let me explain. Writing freaks me the fuck out. If I have to sit down and write something from scratch, I’d never get it done. So I don’t write. I dream. Out loud. On paper. I have made a commitment to this site to publish one short story per week and a blog. I’ll be honest blogs are tough! But I have written it down, it’s on my list, I must try harder. The short stories though, I love ‘em.
So how do I do them? Well, I take a line, any line. It could be from a book, a film, a song or something that someone has said to me. I set the timer on my phone for ten minutes. I write down the line and just spew words out on to the page. I can tell you now that 99% of the shorts on this site were done that way. No planning, no structure (ok, funny bastard I know what you’re saying), just blowing chunks all over the page. I say it’s puking because often that alpha vomit becomes something.
When the ten-minute timer goes I stop writing, pick another line and do it again. I repeat that a few times. Read what I have written, out loud obvs! And then put it all away. The ones that I think about, I return to. I remix them, I add stuff and tinker a bit and voila! I have a short.
I say that it is dreaming because it has to come from somewhere right? I reckon that it all comes from my subconscious, and if I am not wrong that is where your dreams go to hang out. Those shorts, they’re in there. They really are. It’s those lines, those random lines that pull them out and the timer, well, that just means that I have to come up with something.
None of this shit is divine intervention though. I took a couple of writing courses at my local college, and this was how we did our writing exercises. Phil or Mark would give us a line and say, “ten minutes go!” I’ll be honest, I surprised myself at how I could churn out words and phrases. My head is packed with ideas and those lads gave me the key to unlock them.
I recommend a writing course to anyone who wants to write. If you live in the midlands best city and want to do the one I did, then message me through the site and I’ll shoot you straight.
This works for me, the selected line means that I never face that most daunting nemesis: the blank page. That shit will kill creativity dead. Take the line from anywhere it doesn’t have to stay, in fact mine seldom do. But it gets me started, and that is the art of writing without writing.
* For them that care
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