My angle on finding focus in writing …
or why writing is a bit like cinematography.
I took the following pics when we were camping a few days ago (yes, I know I’m an abysmal photographer). It occurred to me much later that this series of shots mirrors my approach to writing. It’s funny how the mind works.
Sometimes, when I’m stuck, I change focus and suddenly the scene will work. I think this awareness of zoom and angle is second nature for screenwriters, but us fiction writers have to work at it.
How do you know if you’re destined to write?
Often, I’m asked how I knew I wanted to be a writer. Or when I knew. I didn’t. I spent a whole lot of time doing other things. Now I know the signs were all there, I just got side-tracked by life and boys and doof-doof music and substances that aren’t good for your health.
So, if you’re wondering what you’re going to be when you grow up, maybe I can save you some time. What are some of the signs that you’re destined to write?
Your first real friend was imaginary.
When your pets die you write a eulogy and plan a funeral.
When you run away from home you have to ask your parents to drive you because you can’t carry all of your books.
You think that people who don’t read are weird. And people who don’t read think you are weird.
That library smell is as alluring as a Clark Rubber store. Or leather shoes.
Your teachers like your stories. (Now that I have children of my own I know that I will tell them anything, even lies, to make them feel good about themselves. You can’t trust your parents. If your teachers like your stories they put big smiley faces at the end of the page. And if they know you’re shy or you don’t want your friends to think you’re a suck, they will tell you quietly, after class, ‘That was a great story.’)
When your teacher starts with ‘Write five hundred words…’ you don’t break into a cold sweat. You might even have trouble sticking to the limit.
You have a stationery addiction. (I don’t mean Smiggles. Smiggles is for wimps. If you’re hard-core you go to Officeworks. That’s about 25,000 square feet of stationery and you can spend hours in there, even if you only have a few bucks. You love the pens and the boxes and all the pretty paper. And you love to organise, you love all those boxes to keep your stuff in. I’m not saying you’re tidy—far from it—I’m saying you like the idea of being tidy. But the things you love best are notebooks. If you’ve seen the movie, Signs, you’ll remember Mel Gibson’s daughter keeps leaving half-full glasses of water lying around the house? You’ll be like that with notebooks.)
You’re a pathological liar on the page. (‘Nuff said.)
You punctuate and proofread your text messages. And you get annoyed when someone responds to your witty five-hundred-character message with a lazy acronym or a smiley. (Obviously, I am so ancient that this technology wasn’t around when I was a kid. But the same thing applied to notes passed in class.)
You can’t imagine a world without books. (Paper books are like hairdressers – they should forever transcend technology.)