1. ·

    First off, you sure know how to title a story to make people rush to read it. : )

    Second, if you’ve not yet read Stephen King’s ON WRITING, it’s the one writing book that got me to throw away my entire library of writing books. That book got me moving. Now, maybe it’s a “your mileage may vary” kind of thing, and you don’t even have to read the first half to get there, but that’s the book that answered a lot of what you said near the end of this post.

    Third, all writers are thieves. In my case, I’m terrible at it, because I *forget* that someone else said something and it wasn’t me. I’ll tell whole stories that I heard somewhere else but forget that I heard elsewhere as if I was the star of the story. And then, sometimes, I’ll sheepishly remember that it wasn’t my story, and I’ll correct accordingly.

    I don’t mean plagiarize, but instead, I mean that we borrow so much from other people’s lives. We create characters that taste like the real thing out of sewn-together parts of many connections and relationships we trail through.

    To me, it’s just part of it when writing fiction.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post.


  2. ·

    I’m friends with several highly regarded chefs and I will ask them how they create certain things, then I’ll go home and experiment until I get it right. Or I fail miserably and ask them for more pointers. 🙂 When I finally do get it right and serve it to my friends I am quick to explain where I got the idea. I respond as if the hours — and sometimes days or even weeks — I spent tinkering were wiped out by the fact I borrowed the idea.

    It is rare in our world that anyone comes up with something uniquely new. Everything is built on the foundation others laid. I think all us creative types need to be respectful of that, but we can’t become fearful that we aren’t always doing the new thing. That stifles creative flow and that’s the very thing the world needs more of, not less.

  3. Kat French

    Chris – Nice of you to drop by. King’s On Writing has been on my radar for years. But it took me till the last year to finally read The Artist’s Way and Pressfield’s The War of Art. Maybe it’s time to finally actually read it.

    And the gift for must-click headlines I learned on message boards. When you really want people to read your post and cough up advice, you learn how to give your thread a grabby title. 😉

    Charles – Hey, man. Good to hear from you. I never thought about how collaborative cooking is, but yeah. I mean, from tweaking your grandma’s recipe to “molecular gastronomy,” (which I love saying, despite not really knowing what it is, because the words are just so cool….) cooking is pretty much always building on the work of someone else. 🙂 But that doesn’t mean your contribution isn’t valuable.

    We’re all mad scientists, aren’t we? Experimenting and springboarding from someone else’s successes or failures.


  4. ·

    Even if you never heard or read anybody else’s words or ideas, your work has to be–at the very minimum–a collaboration between your Inner Creator and your Inner Editor. 🙂

  5. Kat French

    Marian, that may be the most stormy collaborative relationship I know of!


Leave a Reply