Writer’s Journey: Aspire...

Sometimes a writer has something to say, but won’t know what that is. It lies buried deep beneath the surface in the unconscious and it may take a story to trigger it. If someone asks a writer what he’s going to say with a piece of work, the writer might feel pressured for a grand answer before his unconscious even knows what words to choose to express it. It can be difficult to express any theme or core of the material before actually writing. For some writers it is impossible to get there except through the characters and plot which unfolds a page at a time. A writer may feel a strong impulse to write about an angry young lord who was stripped of his title and inheritance. If asked why she’s compelled to write about this particular character, there may be no rational answer; just a compulsion to explore this archetype and to bring it to life through certain details and encounters. By doing so, the writer will find more than a story. At some point the character she has chosen may come upon a situation where he finds himself about to enact a deed that will send another character into some misfortune. That moment is part of the writer’s grand design, or theme, and it could only have appeared by following the character of the story step by step. In this way the writer has something that she wishes to say, but she may have no idea just what that will be until that moment arrives in the plot line. And then it will rapidly unfold perhaps as a surprise but always with some underlying feeling by the writer that it had somehow been there all along, waiting for the right moment...

Writers Journey: Begin...

Before I began, the page was a blank space. In the Japanese language, the radicals that create the full kanji pictograph for the word ‘line’ are a thread, over white or blank water. That is probably because even in ancient times, people saw the blank page as a vast sea over which one small thread seemed barely visible; thus they probably felt as daunted as we do. Usually a writer is compelled to begin when she has something to say. That is different from having an idea. Behind every generated idea there must also be something worth saying. Some of the most memorable journeys were made by authors who were wrestling with some problem they wanted to understand, or some point of view that they felt as a cry to be generally understood. This compulsion is what can propel a writer over the ‘white or blank water’ and make the first few marks on a pristine page. This applies to fiction and nonfiction equally. It’s a mistake to feel that just because we write fiction we are exempt from saying something important in the subtext of our words. A setting and a character is not enough. A writer can spend years building a world from scratch, or researching a setting and characters. But until that compulsion to say something arises, there will only be note-taking and contemplation. Sometimes it’s simply the need to be understood that triggers the writing flow. Sometimes it’s a desire to impart a certain world view or ethic. Very often, a writer begins a piece because they have someone in mind to speak to, even if the narration may never show it. A mother writes a story for her child’s bedtime. A young lover writes a poem or short story...

Introducing: FB Kelly...

F.B. Kelly is the pen name under which this married couple and writing team work their magic.  The pair live in Seattle, Washington.  With each partner published individually before they joined forces, they found even more pleasure in working together on crafting stories of magic, whimsy and romance. We spoke with this pair about how they write together and why: How long have you both been writing? Ben:  I think I seriously started dabbling with writing stories since high school.  I was a highly imaginative child and I always told myself stories but it was in high school that I started writing them down. Fiona:  I think I was telling stories at a very young age, usually walking around and enacting them in the back yard.  I was writing a full-fledged ‘novel’ about a space station at the age of nine.  I’m sure it was at least ten pages long.   When did you decide to co-write? Fiona:  We’ve been co-writers for nine years now.  It just sort of happened on a whim one day. Ben:  It started by accident really. Fiona:  But we realized it was really funny and entertaining so we kept doing it.  And then we got married which was pretty serious and then we ended up wondering what to do about our first anniversary present. Ben:  She told me it was paper for year one. Fiona:  So I asked him, ‘You know we have all these stories that we’ve told over the years.  Why don’t we pick the one that seems the most like us and actually put it into print?’ Ben: Having studied design and book layout, I thought ‘Why not?’ It’s something we could do ourselves and I’d discovered lulu.com in art school, so I knew where to...