Update: Apologies that this post did not go up in time for last week’s chat – if you’re reading this, then I found the problem and fixed it, if it hasn’t gone up, I’m afraid I’ll be climbing Australia’s highest mountain (well, the last 8 kilometres of it lol) at the usual chat time, so there won’t be a lot I’ll be able to do! I look forward to next week’s chat when we are all together again and you can be sure I’ll be thinking of you, this week, between gasps for breath.  Happy Chatting!

Chat Starter:

As those of you who joined #storycraft chat a fortnight ago, or read the last transcript, will know, I have visitors from the States, at the moment, so I won’t be able to host #storycraft this Monday. As promised in my notes to the last transcript, I am posting this quote for you to use as a #storycraft chat starter, in case any of you would like to go ahead without a host.

This week’s quote is about ‘originality’ and comes from The Lie that Tells a Truth, by John Dufresne, Chapter Four: Becoming a Writer. If you can’t find something in what follows to chat about for an hour, I’ll eat my keyboard! Just try to be respectful of each other as you chat!

And please don’t hunger to be original. Original does not mean creative. Original does not mean different, as too many young writers think. It means to arise, to be born. Different is easy. Original is from the Latin meaning source, as in origin, the point at which something comes into existence or from which it derives. The heart, the mind. Origin, not destination. Genuine. Original doesn’t mean you neglect to punctuate or capitalize. Original is honesty, and it’s a was of seeing the world in a fresh and exhilarating way…
…The writer who wants to be an original often becomes mannered in his writing process because what matters to him is how he is perceived by the reader (audience, in his mind), not how his characters are understood… Listen, you need to care more about your characters than yourself… Self-expression is a pose, and can often be an excuse not to write, not to revise. And often what the self-absorbed writer has to express is common knowledge…
The The desire to do what no-one else has done is a vulgar wish, and one that has no place in fiction writing… Writer was want to be original can be heard to say that they didn’t want the reader to understand what the story was about or the want each person to decide for herself what it’s about. The mistake experiment with failure…
…The writer driven by the desire to make it new often does not understand that newness comes in revision, comes with diligence and persistence, and is not a spontaneous or natural condition…
The writer who wants to be original is attracted to the strange, the bohemian, the seedy, the weird, let’s say. This writer admires his own work, and so do his friends who think he’s incredibly bohemian and ahead of his time. Male writers of the type – and the mostly are guys – tend to write nihilistic, experimental stories, often based on comic book heroes or sci-fi premises. There are often buckets of gratuitous blood in their stories: sex is always loveless. They tend to admire Charles Bukowski. The female writers tend toward experimental structures as well – episodes, not plots (originality as an excuse to be lazy?) – often based on mythic heroines or New Age premises. There are truckloads of worthless, abusive men in their stories…;sex is always orgasmic. Male and female, these writers are more interested in style than in content. Their lust is an egotistical and crass one – the lust for non-conformity.

Happy Chatting!
Dani.