Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

I’m in the final pages of Anthony Doerr’s beautifully written Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, which documents the year he and his wife and their six month twins spent in Rome while he was on a writing fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In it, Doerr describes the process of writing a story as he experiences it:

But to write a story is to inch backward and forward along a series of planks you are cantilevering out into the darkness, plank by plank, inch by inch, and the best you can hope is that each day you find yourself a little bit farther out over the abyss.


What does the writing process feel like to you? What metaphor would you use to describe your own experience of writing? Focus on how you experience the writing of a story, a poem, a novel, or a memoir, specifically, or on the writing process in general.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Frequent Contributor
marcialou
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

Sometimes I feel like I am sculpting when I write. I chip away at formless stone until I achieve the "shape" of the story in my mind.


Marcia
Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

for me, my writing is like my life: basically, it all just sucks!!





:smileyvery-happy: HAHA! just kidding!

sorta...


but, similar to life, in writing, you meet/create people you hold on to for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. In most works or fiction, those folks are only around for one reason, to tell that specific tale. But, if you're real lucky, some of those characters, or at least, a special specific character type, will stand-out and linger, and leap into future projects, hang out for a few more reasons or seasons...

or, if you are supremely fortunate, like JK Rowling, your characters will sustain themselves, and your own family, for a lifetime.

so, ya, I guess writing is a lot like life; you have to work pretty hard at it, to make it all come together just the way you want. You have to be ready for those bumps and twists and fantastic flights of fancy to take hold and sometimes take over for awhile, before you reign it in, and come back to some semblance or reality and balance and resolution, before moving forward.

and, in the end, it's usually worth it, regardless the struggles you went thru to get to the finish.
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
APenForYourThoughts
Posts: 394
Registered: ‎06-22-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

[ Edited ]
First of all, I love this question, and I love your metaphors, marcialou and CrAZRick!
Writing, to me, is like the Aztecs' practice of human sacrifice: you allow your heart to be ripped out of your chest in order to fuel your own personal sun. Writing is such an intensely personal experience to me; I often end up reliving events or emotions or thoughts from my life in my writing or writing them as I would have liked them to occur. It's painful at times, but that makes it all the more wonderful for me. I still subject myself to that because I have that crazy desire to fill a page with words, and it's therapeutic to do that. Sometimes I feel like the life in my veins is flowing through the pen and onto the page, not in a degenerative way but in a way that gives me new life every second. It feeds my inner sun and allows me to maintain my brightness and vitality, and just to keep going. :smileyhappy: This is similar to a very cool (in my opinion) quote about writing, given us by Red Smith: "Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

Message Edited by APenForYourThoughts on 08-14-2007 11:36 PM
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
Contributor
dorie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎08-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

I like the questions you pose. My ideas for writing ride around in my head for maybe months and I go from thinking it isn't worth anything to perhaps it is a good idea. All my writing come from my life's experiences. I vividly can see in my mind a rainy day I experienced , a house I visited, a person I met years ago or only last week, etc - whatever. And then one day, I will sit down and write a story as fast as I can. Of course, the piece needs editing. (Something I hate doing ) For me writing is a difficult endeavor, long process. And I am forever avoiding the call to write. Something I fight everyday. I'll let housework get in the way by thinking, "After I clean the toilets, I'll write. The living room needs dusting after that I'll write." I am trying very hard to forget those mundane things and am resolved to write in the morning when my mind in clear, bathrobe on, coffee cup next to my computer ---- it is a wonderful thing to do. Another thing I have changed is I do not write with the idea of getting published which in the past I did constantly, instead I write and rewrite until I read my work and I feel the power of the words, the purpose of the piece was accomplished. What a reward!!!! Emma Franklin Ward.
Emma
Frequent Contributor
marcialou
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

[ Edited ]
Writing can sometimes be a stormy love affair with a character only I can see. Sometimes we make sweet music together. Other times we wrestle into the night like Jacob and the angel. I think I am her god, and can make her do whatever I like. She rebels against my authoritarian ways.

It is a struggle for dominance which neither of us can win, because the creative process requires a balance between us. The story can not be realized unless she gives herself up to me; yet I must allow her to remain true to herself or she will have nothing to give. Like any other relationship, ours is one that requires work.


Marcia

Message Edited by marcialou on 08-16-2007 09:28 AM
Contributor
PBuermele
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎08-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

The writing process for me is like taking a magic carpet ride into my heart and imagination. I love the art of storytelling - reading, hearing, telling - and when I kneel on that carpet my fingers are on the keyboard (well, of course my magic carpet has a keyboard) ready to write down any story that comes to them. I couldn't believe how much fun it was to write my first novel.
Paula Buermele
www.thedreamcatchertour.com
Frequent Contributor
TeenReader
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎05-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

I picture my writing like I'm swimming in the ocean and I keep finding these planks that build a bigger and bigger raft.
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



marcialou wrote:
Sometimes I feel like I am sculpting when I write. I chip away at formless stone until I achieve the "shape" of the story in my mind.


Marcia




Beautiful! This evokes the saying about sculptures, too, that to make one you just chip away what isn’t part of it. (Who said that? Does anyone know?) That brings another element to it—that the story is there, waiting, it’s just a matter of accessing what it wants to do, rather than what we want it to do.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



crAZRick wrote:
. . . so, ya, I guess writing is a lot like life; you have to work pretty hard at it, to make it all come together just the way you want. You have to be ready for those bumps and twists and fantastic flights of fancy to take hold and sometimes take over for awhile, before you reign it in, and come back to some semblance or reality and balance and resolution, before moving forward.

and, in the end, it's usually worth it, regardless the struggles you went thru to get to the finish.




This is great—and with so many facets. It makes me think of the way life can send us down paths we don’t understand or don’t see for what they will contribute to our lives. There’s that same aspect in writing: sometimes we follow a character or an action or a place with only the hope and trust that something will come of it.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



APenForYourThoughts wrote:
First of all, I love this question, and I love your metaphors, marcialou and CrAZRick!
Writing, to me, is like the Aztecs' practice of human sacrifice: you allow your heart to be ripped out of your chest in order to fuel your own personal sun. . . .

Message Edited by APenForYourThoughts on 08-14-2007 11:36 PM




Vivid! And it brings into the mix the fact that what we write is a part of who we are. This comparison solidifies the intricate connection between author and material.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



dorie wrote:
I like the questions you pose. My ideas for writing ride around in my head for maybe months and I go from thinking it isn't worth anything to perhaps it is a good idea. All my writing come from my life's experiences. I vividly can see in my mind a rainy day I experienced , a house I visited, a person I met years ago or only last week, etc - whatever. And then one day, I will sit down and write a story as fast as I can. Of course, the piece needs editing. (Something I hate doing ) For me writing is a difficult endeavor, long process. And I am forever avoiding the call to write. Something I fight everyday. I'll let housework get in the way by thinking, "After I clean the toilets, I'll write. The living room needs dusting after that I'll write." I am trying very hard to forget those mundane things and am resolved to write in the morning when my mind in clear, bathrobe on, coffee cup next to my computer ---- it is a wonderful thing to do. Another thing I have changed is I do not write with the idea of getting published which in the past I did constantly, instead I write and rewrite until I read my work and I feel the power of the words, the purpose of the piece was accomplished. What a reward!!!! Emma Franklin Ward.




I often find my procrastinations are a good time to daydream about the story. Next time you find yourself in front of the kitchen sink instead of your writing, start thinking about the characters and the stories. Then finish up and head to your writing space. Once you catch yourself you can use it as an opportunity to get your mind in that creative space.

It sounds like you made an important shift in your thinking—from writing to get published to writing for the craft and for yourself. It’s bound to make your work more honest and true. Certainly, the process will be more nurturing.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



marcialou wrote:
Writing can sometimes be a stormy love affair with a character only I can see. Sometimes we make sweet music together. Other times we wrestle into the night like Jacob and the angel. I think I am her god, and can make her do whatever I like. She rebels against my authoritarian ways.

It is a struggle for dominance which neither of us can win, because the creative process requires a balance between us. The story can not be realized unless she gives herself up to me; yet I must allow her to remain true to herself or she will have nothing to give. Like any other relationship, ours is one that requires work.


Marcia

Message Edited by marcialou on 08-16-2007 09:28 AM





Lovely! That love affair really captures the intensity of the relationship between writer and writing. The struggle aspect is interesting, and speaks to the way we can sometimes get in our own way.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



PBuermele wrote:
The writing process for me is like taking a magic carpet ride into my heart and imagination. I love the art of storytelling - reading, hearing, telling - and when I kneel on that carpet my fingers are on the keyboard (well, of course my magic carpet has a keyboard) ready to write down any story that comes to them. I couldn't believe how much fun it was to write my first novel.




Wonderful! I like the way you’ve captured the magic and thrill of the writing process in the image of the carpet ride.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing



TeenReader wrote:
I picture my writing like I'm swimming in the ocean and I keep finding these planks that build a bigger and bigger raft.




What a lovely metaphor for the discovery that exists in writing. I do often feel like I simply “come upon” details or actions or moments that end up being essential in my story. Your image of those plants floating by—and making something substantial, something you can rest on—really captures that quality of the process.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Frequent Contributor
Dezdura
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎08-23-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

I've always written "island" style. The archipelago. I use an outline but not greatly detailed. Each island is a different country, but the same country.
Frequent Contributor
Quack
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Topic 12: Metaphors for Writing

This has to be one of my favorite discussions so far. I love what I'm reading here. I tend to think of my writing as opening up the door to the most personal and secret parts of me and saying to the world, "Come in. Have a look around. Feel free to take what you wish from this place. I hope you find something you like." Opening the door is rather difficult, but I like the company it brings.