Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Rumplestilskin Effect

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia
Ideas are easy. The ideas for stories are everywhere, they light like fireflies on a hot July night, linger in the smell of fresh baked bread, are tucked into conversations with friends. If you look around and take note, they will come to you.

Turning ideas into a story is hard. It can drive you to your knees with frustration when the words that danced through your brain with such grace congeal on the page like overcooked oatmeal and you have to throw them out and start all over again. That’s the process, write, read, repeat, until maybe something that looks just a little like what was in your mind begins to take shape.

The writer’s art is in the transformation of idea to story. You’ll find libraries worth of books on how to make this happen. The truth is, it happens differently for everyone. The process that works for me might well not work for you. Heck, it might not work for me next week or next month. 

Transformation is an elusive thing, partly based on craft and partly on alchemy. Like Rumplestilskin, we take the straw of thoughts and notions and pictures and sound and smell and emotion and weave it into story. We hope for gold, though sometimes we get dross. We keep at it, and if we’re very lucky, we create something beautiful and shiny and worthwhile. Or at least something we like well enough to share with the world. 

'til next time


Big Mike said...

Very well put. Writing to me is easy, it's getting through the edit process and promotion. Way harder than I even imagined.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Well described. There's many a quip twixt the pen and its tip.

Liz Fountain said...

You describe it precisely, Ute. Bill Kenower says writing is about accurately translating what our imagination presents to us. The imagination knows what it's doing - the translation is painstaking.


Ute Carbone said...

Thanks guys! :)
You're right, Mike--promo is harder than imagined and it's the one part of this whole writing gig I don't like. Transforming (writing) is hard, but worthwhile. I love the process.
Many stay in the pen, Julie. For better or worse, lol
I love that thought, Liz. It does often feel like translation, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Good read. Thanks