Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Crafting a Piece of Fiction (1)

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You Are Creative

But I did not say a word. I just looked into your expressively cruel eyes and then walked to the window and looked at the snow on the cedar’s green leaves which reminded me of how innocent the winter was despite its brutality and I felt the cold of the window against my cheek and the cold made me remember how I felt when I wanted to say a word. I felt that the words run away from me and I was left wordless so I built a wall of bricks between me and you and as soon as I remembered the bricks I couldn’t stop putting more bricks on the bricks on the wall I had already built between me and you in my imagination and I was worried that now that the wall grows longer and longer it would be so impossible for me to leap over it that I would have to step outside of myself and become someone I wasn’t ever before in order to be close to you. When I saw myself back into your arms I could watch you and I and I also watched myself on the other side of the wall still putting brick on brick and I was floating above and watching our bodies on one side of the wall and my isolated body on the other side of the wall. Although I was out of myself when I felt your hands holding mine I returned to my body and became a person again.
What if my real self was me and I was my imaginative self? I place four fingers inside the cut on my throat and imagine taking the mask off my face and I imagine loneliness crawling out of me like worms wriggling out of a rotten corpse. I wonder if the horrible feeling belonged to a flesh not wanting to be a flesh anymore or a spirit no longer wanting to be a person.

Just how you stretch to warm up for a serious exercise, you can try “free writing” to prepare for completing your manuscript. This is also an effective way to get over writer’s block. Free writing means let your conscious/unconscious thought lead you. If you run out of ideas, do not stop. Just write a phrase like “oh, why can’t I think of anything now?” and then continue writing. You will come up with something.
It is important to shut down the editor in you when you write freely. Here are some of the way you can practice developing your creativity:

1. Write down the first word you can think of. Don’t think too hard. Simply jut down the first word that comes to your mind. Vacation? Sigh? Fatigue? Exhilaration? Even “ouch” is good enough if that’s the first thing you can think of. Now write.

2. Open a book and write down the first word that catches your eye. Start writing and don’t stop.
3. Flip through a newspaper or magazine and pick an image. What might be the story beyond that image?
4. Read the headline of the news. Without reading the body of the news, think a possible story. What happened?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.