Friday, 19 February 2010

Blog Reboot

Hello, everyone. My apologies for the long delay in adding material to The Writing Cycle. As I’m sure has happened to you at times, life ‘got in the way’, even with the best of my intentions : teaching duties, project deadlines, family commitments. Some of these issues have now settled down and I find myself with a little more time.

So I suppose you can consider this entry as a reboot of the blog. I now hope to contribute to it on a weekly basis and make it a worthwhile experience for both you and me. As to what I intend to talk about, the topics will be a mixture of explanations and explorations of The Writing Cycle, plus those items of general writing interest that may not fit into a particular element of the cycle.

As I indicated, I have more time than I did last year. In fact, I am currently on long service leave from my teaching job. When I tell people this, the usual question they asked, Are you going on a trip? My usual answer is No; however, I've come to realise that I will be travelling, though in places those people would have been considering.

I have taken this time off to work on two major writing projects. The first is a final edit of the verse novel I wrote for my PhD, so I can start submitting it to publishers. The second is a rewrite of a rough draft for a science fiction novel that I wrote in 2008, when I attended The Year of the Speculative Fiction Novel workshop at the Victorian Writers' Centre ( I also intend to work on new and existing poems and short stories. The trip I am going on, then, is through the worlds of all these texts, a trip through imagination. The details of how I am going during this ‘trip’ will be one of the things I plan to share with you in the next few months.

I would like to leave you with an insight I gained recently. My wife, Jo, and I were having dinner with two good friends, both of whom are involved in the music business, as practitioners and as teachers. We were discussing the relative merits of several Australian musicians and they brought up the idea of a ‘music triangle’. In effect, they are suggesting that to be a good musician requires ability in three areas: musicianship, music knowledge and heart. By ‘musicianship’ they meant that the instrumentalist (which includes voice) knew his or her instrument inside out, knew how to play their instrument well, was a good technician. By ‘music knowledge’ they meant that not only did the musician know how to read music, but that he or she had knowledge of music theory and music practice, both in their chosen field and in the wider field of music in general. As for ‘heart’, they seemed to be referring to the emotions that the musician brought to their playing and could evoke in their listeners through their playing.

Immediately I could see a corollary with writers, a ‘writer triangle’, if you like. This triangle would be composed of the technical, the knowledge of literature, and ‘heart’. To be a good writer, whatever the genre or form, a writer must know the craft of their chosen field, which includes the basics of grammar as well as that field’s conventions; must have an appreciation not only of the history of their field but also of literature in general; and must have an ability to infuse emotions into their work so that others can experience them.

So, what do you think? Does the Writer Triangle make sense? If so, how would you rate yourself on each of the factors? What are you doing to improve each of these areas?

I hope you have enjoyed this taster of what you can expect in future instalments.

All the best with your own writing projects.


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