Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Henry Miller and the Process of Writing a Novel or Screenplay - Roland's Creative Writing Blog - The Writers Studio offers creative fiction writing courses and classes live at our Sydney studio or online writing classes on the internet, online novel writing courses and online film script writing courses..

For most people, writing a good story, whether it be a novel or screenplay, requires a step-by-step process.
There are many different facets to the process. Broadly speaking, they are - planning, writing, re-writing and editing.
One mistake many aspiring writers make when starting out is that they mix the tasks up and then find it very hard to move forward to completion.
In order to realise the full potential of any story you are writing, it makes a huge difference if you have a process and that you follow it through to the end.
This is something we stress in all our classes, particularly to those in the Novel and Script First Draft class. Nearly everyone doubts their story at some time or other when writing it.
However, you must keep going until your story is finished. Often, it is only when writers complete the full process that they see their stories really come together and work as a unified whole.
In the early 1930s while working on his hugely influential book, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller wrote the following list of 11 Commandments:
  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to Black Spring.
  3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at appointed time!
  5. When you can't create, you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don't be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it - but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.
Here are a few comments about the power of process from people who have recently completed our Ten Month Novel and Script First Draft Course that reflect some of Henry Miller's principles.
"The process of writing a first draft has been a revelation to me, sometimes slow and painful but the many 'aha' moments have kept me going. While I am still sometimes too self-critical and hard on myself, I and my character have both learned to let go and trust and have faith that the universe will help us out." Claire
"To allow the story to emerge with creativity, spontaneity and 'juice' you have to surrender to the process. Creativity walks through the doorway of the formal story step process." Gilbert

"I've spent a very enjoyable 10 months exploring the importance of structure in the creative process. What at first sounded like a total contradiction actually made complete sense by the end; it made everything fall into place." Rachel

"I have learned that writing takes commitment and persistence. It also takes courage and a willingness to grow through the process.
"When there is this willingness it is very rewarding. The joy of not knowing what will appear next in the story and seeing new characters reveal themselves makes facing that blank page worth it." Satyam

No comments:

Post a Comment

For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene