Connecting to Your Writing
Experimentation is the key to great writing, so it's important to sometimes step out of your comfort zone to give the reader more ways to process your ideas, and, as the writer, for you to process your own ideas. In particular, attention to shape and sound is an extremely important and underrated part of writing. Applying this attention creates a unique contour which contributes to the many textures and layers of writing like plot, atmosphere, and rhythm.
The Auditory Experience of Writing
I try to make my writing as much an auditory experience as a literary experience. Music doesn't have to make sense because (and this is cliché) before you understand it, you “feel” it. In writing it is equally important to "feel" your inner voice contract and expand to the “flow.” You are the one in charge of your world and your writing. If everything is emulating what people (even if it's a reputable author) think your writing should be, then your writing is not interesting enough.
Warping Your Words
Many people tend to write sentences that are very clean, so they “make sense” to others. However, you can also experiment with ways to warp the inherent logic of language. For me, warping things is the best part of writing.
I often replace parts of sentences with ambiguous or disjointed phrases because the original unbroken sentence made too much sense. Even a regimented, austere style like that of Hemingway's always has bumps in the road that force readers to pay attention to what they are reading.
For instance, I may originally say “The bird walked down the road,” but I might replace it with “The bird trickled as a river” because it sounds more interesting.
Word Choice & Tone
Conveniently, this bending has helped me come up with and use unpredictable motifs. For example, in my solitary novel Sodium:
"The outside of this replica is covered in real feathers. In some places there are shrapnels of these feathers which are clotted together with candle-like lard. In others, nothing shields the deeper metal skin, cancerous, from the unforgiving cloud-light.
Sometimes it chirps involuntarily. I have had this bird replica for a long time now and I believe it is beautiful."
Musings on a broken replica of a raven led to the ability to create a deeper psychoanalysis of my main character and, depending on the perspective of the reader, a rejection of beauty itself. Even though I don’t know what a replica of a raven is, I was able to forge a clearer interpretation of what it symbolizes. When trying to incorporate motifs or meaningful objects into their writing, many people miss that the difference between what is and what is being symbolized can be made as unclear as possible.
Additionally, you need not be completely attached to what you are writing because sometimes you need a colder and more objective outlook on your ideas. Sometimes writing something that surpasses your own level of intellect also pushes the quality of your writing higher.
In order for your work to live peacefully and maintain its artistic integrity, it first needs to (quite paradoxically) go through some kind of stylistic transformation or be pushed by a strong ideology. Whether that transformation is the product of your imagination or of a larger temporal scope (like traditional lyric poetry or storytelling in many areas of the globe) is another question. I tend to rely on the former because I am not that ideologically inclined.
The hard part of this is—and I've yet to figure this out completely—pushing your writing in this way without pushing yourself too hard. The closest I’ve gotten to the quote-on-quote solution for this method is seeking new sources for inspiration from various fields of art (I’ve especially focused on music, as is quite evident).
There was one scene in Andrei Tarkovsky's masterpiece movie Stalker where the guide to a dangerous “zone” advises that the straight path is not necessarily the shortest path.
Sure, writing can tell something literally, but it is much more interesting if writing is used as a tool to make it difficult to distinguish between what is being expressed and what is not. Confuse yourself by warping conventional literary elements (not too much, obviously) and creativity could flow more quickly.
I would like to thank Yessica for offering me the opportunity to write a guest post for such a wonderful blog. I especially love her points on what psychological challenges writers face, including this one that mentions keeping a writing schedule.
Tai Nakamura is a teenage writer from New Jersey. He mainly writes poems and short stories, but also has completed one novel, Sodium. His work mainly spans the avant-garde but also is inspired by more ancient forms of art. He also enjoys composing music, playing the piano, and watching old Japanese educational videos on science (especially biology).