11 March 2008

I hear the snails talking to me!

Deniz the Niece revealed that she hears voices. That’s no reason to be alarmed though, for those are the voices of the characters in the novel she’s been writing. It’s all part of creative thinking.

Sometimes I hear or read something – a word, a phrase, a lyric – and it starts the ball rolling, whether action, dialogue or monologue, and I have to write it *now* or I’ll lose it. These are the ideas that come fully-formed, often at the beginning of a new story, and are generally the roughest stuff – need a lot of hacking through in the editing process.
Interestingly, she is describing how I frequently come up with ideas when I am intensely working on a scientific manuscript. It usually happens when I am on a walk. I start thinking about the parts of the manuscript that still need to be written or revised and about the snails that are the usual “characters” of my manuscripts. Then, a train of thought, so to speak, suddenly appears, as if from out of a tunnel; this is followed by sentences to be added to the manuscript forming in my mind. If I happen to have a pen and a piece of paper on me, I may even write them down so as not to forget them.

And, yes, although at first they sound perfectly fine, these spontaneous creations must be edited, rewritten, revised, rewritten...many times. And occasionally, upon further rumination, they even get chucked out of the manuscript.

I guess writers’ minds works the same way regardless of what it is that they may be writing, whether it is fiction or nonfiction. The process of creativity in literature and science must have a lot in common.


1 comment:

Snail said...

Creative thinking is important in science, IMHO.

Of course, one of the advantages of fiction writing is that you can make stuff up.