Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Multiverse.org, Moorcock, and Miscellany

d20 Dark Ages got a mention over at Moorcock's Miscellany, multiverse.org, for the post Writing and Michael Moorcock: What I've learned.... So I'm pretty happy about that.

I poke around on there a handful of times a month. It's great place to meet other Moorcock fans and speculate if there will ever be an Elric movie. And, if so, who will play Elric.

Moorcock often participates in the on-going Q&A. You can read the words from the master himself. I found the following quote of particular interest.

http://www.multiverse.org/fora/showthread.php?p=260587#post260587

-i'VE REFUSED MANY TIMES TO TEACH CREATIVE WRITING. IT'S OK FOR SOME AND I KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE BENEFITTED FROM CW COURSES BUT I'M INCLINED TO THINK THEY CAN WORK TO INHIBIT THE WOULD-BE WRITER BECAUSE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS CAN BE THE DEATH OF ART. THAT SAID, THERE ARE STILL SOME PRACTICAL LESSONS YOU CAN PASS ON. AS AN EDITOR I WAS ABLE TO DO THIS AND THEN GIVE THE AUTHOR SOME MONEY AND PUBLISH A STORY IF I LIKED IT. YOU'RE STILL TEACHING, BUT YOU'RE TEACHING TO A WELL DEFINED EXPECTATION!

Yes, Moorcock wrote that in all caps. Go to the link above and see for yourself.

I've taken my fair share of Creative Writing courses over the years, so I see the wisdom in his words. Really, the only way you can become a good writer is to read a lot, write a lot, and then put your works out there for people to see... and judge.

Creative writing courses can be helpful if they are taught by a patient instructor. An instructor can pontificate all a student needs to know about creative writing in the first class. Then its up to the student to just get to work, have their work reviewed, and learn by the school of hard knocks via constructive criticism.

A writer is often his or her worst critic. Exposing yourself to others through your writing can be terrifying. It is terrifying, especially the first time before a group. Self-conscious can, indeed, be the death of art. The internal censor, the Ego, will always criticize your ideas. Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) called it the Monkey Mind. Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) called it Resistance. It gives you every reason imaginable to stop writing and doubt your own work. A writer, just starting off, often doesn't have the confidence to ignore the critic.

Now imagine said budding writer (or any other artist) in a room where half the students are just there to get an easy grade, and an instructor who's never published anything beyond a columns or letters in the local paper, or a few poems or short stories in a journal 20 years ago. I've been there. It is a waste of time on every body's part. Even worst of all, the budding writer gets his work torn apart by vague or harsh criticisms ("I have a problem with this..." "I like what you did here." "This sucks.").

Yet then again, I've been in a couple great creative writing classes where everybody is on board, committed. You can learn a lot about the art of creative writing and yourself. You don't want those classes to end, but they have to. And then suddenly you're on your own again, without deadlines, without a teacher or fellow classmates to push you forward. It's just you and the white space before you.

----

Speaking of which: I guess I should put my money where my mouth is.

I'll post a revision of Murder on the Hot Flats, a short story set in Domikka that I'm working on, by Sunday night. It'll go under the "Relics of the Dark Ages" for people to read.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...