Saturday, November 7, 2009

newnoise1 on writing a literary masterpiece

Find your writing voice, how to write a literary masterpiece

If you wake up one morning and find yourself transformed into a giant bug, don't cry about it, write about it!

Writers have new noise to make and nothing will stop them from making it. They know their craft and they feel passionate about their themes. Therefore, they are confident about what they have to say. Can you imagine giving Ayn Rand advice on a paragraph in Atlas Shrugged? Good luck to you.

Charles Dickens, George Orwell, J. D Salinger, T.S Eliot, Frans Kafka, Edith Wharton . . . these authors were not vaguely interested in the themes they chose to write about, they were consumed by them. Writers see new things in the things that other eyes miss. Freud said something like, 'Wherever I go, I find a poet has been there already.' Often the literary master writes and later the idea becomes part of the text book.

Charles Dickens wrote of the abuse of children in labor factories, William Golding on the consequence of war in The Lord of the Flies, Orwell described how the world of communism works in reality. Ayn Rand, who grew up in a communist country, felt she had to write about why capitalism as a rational way of life was superior to the communism way of life. Aldous Huxley had something to say about the future and how little courage would be needed in Brave new world. He was already writing about artificial insemination in 1937.

Hours, days and years of thought can go into a literary masterpiece. Somerset Maugham said people have no idea how much thought goes into a story or a novel before it is finally written down.

Even literary masters start as journalists, press agents, editors or bloggers. T.S Eliot worked in a bank for a while but he still lived to write. One of his central themes was our inhability to grasp Life with a capital L:

'What is that noise?'

The wind under the door.
What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'
'Nothing and again nothing'
'You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember
I remember
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
'Are you still alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?'

'But . . .

(The Wasteland)

Literary masters can write about extremely difficult concepts and make it look like a walk in the park. To a writer like Margaret Atwood, words and how to use them are second nature. From Cat's eye to The handmaid's tale, she has something to say that is of universal importance.

In a nutshell, to find your writing voice and make new noise:

* find a central theme that consumes you,
* write, write and write some more,
* develop an artist's eye - see things in your own way, and
* work on your confidence.

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