Write too much

To all the witches out there, happy halloween www.carolineallen.com

A common thread I see working with writing clients is this: most of us stop ourselves from fully exploring a subject. We think: people will think it’s boring so we cut ourselves off.

I tell clients, allow yourself to write too much on a subject that interests you. Write it all out. Get it out of your head and onto the page. You can edit it later.

Here’s an example. I’m working on my second novel Air. In it, the protagonist Pearl moves to Japan. In a Tokyo newsroom, she meets Choko, a Japanese woman who unlike other women in Japan, has chosen a career over family. The difficulties Choko has to deal with in the newsroom are unbelievable. Men harass her, shame her, degrade her, dismiss her endlessly. I realized last night I hadn’t explored Choko’s situation enough. I realized I wanted to look at how Choko was a pioneer, and how hard it is to be on the front lines of any new movement, and how that’s just the way it is — some people will be on the front lines. Some people will take the first round of the rage that change seems to engender in other people. There will always be these people…

So, I’m going back in and allowing myself to follow Choko more through her life. Before, I thought it was enough to have a paragraph or two. Now I realize that I need to let Choko speak, because there are other messages there I’m yet to discover.

I suggest the same for new writers. If a philosophical subject interests you, allow your character to pursue that concept. Explore it. Explore it through action, writing a scene where that issue is physically played out, and explore it through dialogue and metaphor.

I believe many of us, especially women, but men too, were told to shut up way too many times as children and we’ve learned to shut ourselves up. It’s time to open up and speak. It’s your turn. Speak, for God sake, speak.

Interested in working with a writing coach? Contact me at carolineallen@aol.com for a free initial consultation, www.artofstorytellingonline.com


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