READ 002 | The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

The Writer's Journey (cover) by Christopher Vogler.I’ve had this one on my list for awhile, and was on the Toronto Public Library Hold list for what seems like even longer (though the magic of actually pulling that one off is currently beyond me); needless to say I’ve been rather hyped to finally dive into The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. And after three weeks with this sought after title (seriously, the Holds list is looooonnng) all I can find myself capable of saying is, “Yeah, it’s there. I guess?”

As someone super into the idea of the monomyth and the all-encompassing power and reach of the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, you would think this book would be totally my jam, and in one very important (and damaging) sense—it is. Continue reading “READ 002 | The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler”

READ 001 – The Educated Imagination – Northrop Frye

Part of the CBC Massey Lectures series, Northrop Frye originally delivered his series of six talks on the value of studying literature, collective known as The Educated Imagination, in 1962. The lectures have been collected in a book published by Anasi. By virtue of being a student at the University of Toronto and being taught by professors who were in turn taught by Frye himself, the ideas of this book are a part of my critical DNA. Before going back to read The Educated Imagination again this week after a decade of recommending it to all and sundry, I don’t think I fully appreciated exactly how formative Frye’s ideas are to me and my approach to literature and critical theory. Continue reading “READ 001 – The Educated Imagination – Northrop Frye”

PLAY 003 | Day 5: A Daunting Task…Done.

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 5:
Saturday February 17, 2018

Section: CC.043
Time Spent Writing: ~1 hour
Number of Words: 939

As James keeps saying, “I could write more—but I don’t need to!” I understand the sentiment. We have both agreed that the speed at which we have barrelled through our remaining sections this week has kept our usual verbosity when writing prose to a minimum. Which has forced us to get to the point. How will that compare to our early sections when it comes time to Edit? We shall see!

Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 5: A Daunting Task…Done.”

PLAY 003 | Day 4: “Hey Luke… We just climaxed!”

Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 4:
Friday February 16, 2018

Section: CC.038, CC.039
Time Spent Writing: ~4 hours
Number of Words: 2,758

…wow. Did that just happen?

James is shaking, he’s so excited. Together, across two different sections… We just finished writing the first draft climax of Charlotte’s Journey.

Continue reading “PLAY 003 | Day 4: “Hey Luke… We just climaxed!””

Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude

I’m going to be honest with you. It’s a bit rich of me to be spewing wisdom like “‘show don’t tell’ is reductive and potentially crappy advice” and “ideation is a key to success” because I have absolutely no formal training in writing whatsoever. Everything I know about stories comes from the other side. I have a lot of training in critical thought, and I’d like to think I’m at least adequate at it.

As a result, I’ve made some assumptions about writing in the past. When I make those assumptions, Luke (who does have formal training as a professional writer) usually manages to say something that surprises me. Often it’s insightful wisdom or highly organized, process-based logic, but he did throw me for a loop once. When I went off on a tangent about whether a character would be able to see mountains from where they were standing in a comment on a section of Charlotte’s Journey, I learned that Luke was largely unfamiliar with verisimilitude. Certainly not the concept itself, but the word. I always sorta figured it was writing 101 stuff, but there you have it. Continue reading “Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude”

On Writing Alone

Writing is / can feel like a solitary adventure, going off to strange lands that you operate as a ghost in, exploring characters and rolling landscapes that you can only observe. The creative process is unique to everyone, and everyone experiences creative flow differently, but I’ve found this analogy of being a witness to the events, characters, or both to be commonly understood by creative writers. But from what angle, what side of things do you witness and build the narrative? This is where many people differ.

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Why Does the Shaman Need the Fire?

“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only one worth living.”
— 
Gustave Flaubert

They descend upon the site, recalling last session’s twists and turns, some reenacting key moments, others content to smile like a conspirator before revealing their theories for tonight’s installment. They banter and question; probe and dissect. A tense excitement hangs in the air. Tonight promises to wrap up loose threads, and reveal the shadowy presence of the next arc. The group makes their way through the dark to the single glowing flame, barely more than a spark, that burns in the centre of the fire pit. Each has brought a log of wood, and the telling will only last as long as the wood burns—though its impact will linger on long into the night, the next day, and beyond.

As the group settles into the circle around the fire, the wood stacked within arms reach so as to not ruin the rhythm of the telling, the Storyteller appears silently from the darkness. There is no ruckus to proceed the Storyteller’s coming, no fanfare to follow. There is the fire; there is the circle. There is the Story. Continue reading “Why Does the Shaman Need the Fire?”