Weekly Writer Wisdom: May 16, 2017

(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump.)

This Week’s Questions: How do you view the act of writing? If you could compare writing to other activities or process, what would you liken it to? Why? What other thoughts do you have when you read this quote?

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16 thoughts on “Weekly Writer Wisdom: May 16, 2017

  1. I think the act of writing is, in any genre or style, turning nothing into something. Writing is making a world of ideas real through nothing more than words on the page. I try to keep that in mind while I’m writing because it helps me to remember to use the senses to tell the story, and to be artfully detailed in my prose.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very true. A story is only an idea until a writer brings it to life. And we don’t do that with construction materials, paint, or tangible objects, but with words. It’s not easy, but if we can do it, then it’s very much like wielding our own brand of magic or, like Gass said, changing lead in gold. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A good quote, though it could be turned around. Writers also turn words into worlds, particularly in SF and Fantasy world-building. Words are our bricks. Winston Churchill, a master of both the spoken and written word, built brick walls on his estate as a hobby. I’m not surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point! I hadn’t thought of the vice versa of that quote. 🙂

      On a related note, what if we’re not like Churchill and don’t build brick walls for a hobby? Would other hobbies suffice? Just curious, that’s all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We certainly don’t have to all be amateur brick-layers! But my father was a builder and I’ve often seen writing books as like building houses. My main hobby is walking.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always looked at the act of writing as the process of taking what resides within my inscape and formatting it so that others can share in my imagination or thoughts. All artists do the same thing with different media, I think. Great photographs or art in all its forms give us an insight into how others see the world, while music demonstrates how others hear it. That’s probably way too simplistic, but it’s how it has always seemed to me…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think that idea (or your answer in general) is too simplistic. IMHO, it hits the nail on the head. Sure, there are lots of layers to how every artist interprets the world and shares their vision through their work, but that’s the beauty of art and creativity, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh this is a rather interesting one! Truth be told, the first thing that came to mind when I saw it was Coelho’s The Alchemist, but that’s where my mind goes every time I see the word alchemy 😉
    I might be interpreting this the wrong way, but I this quote makes me think of how writers look at their world, interpret it and then place it before their readers, to lend insight into the goings on that otherwise might be missed, and hopefully inspire better action in the future.
    It also makes me think of how writers create their own worlds in their minds and share those creations with others so that they can discover them too. As a fantasy author, I know that’s how I look at the stories I write. And those that I’ve read. So many authors have transported me into their imagined worlds. That really does feel like true magic ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Funny. My mind went to The Alchemist as well when I read that quote. 😉 And to Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. Alchemy is a big part of that story, too.

      I don’t think there’s a “wrong” way of interpreting Gass’s quote. In fact, I decided to leave the questions more open this week just to see what people’s responses would be. And part of your answer is similar to Tori’s. Worldbuilding is very much a creative alchemy, taking the ideas that we see in our mind and then turning them into reality. Writing in general is like that, too. And if the world seems real and believable, and if the reader feels emotionally moved or “escapism-wise” transported into the story, then we’ve done our job.

      I like what you said about how writers use stories to share their perspective of the world. It’s very true, in a thematic or value-oriented way. And I find that stories that excel at exploring their themes are the ones that stick with me longest. Would you agree?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I’ve seen this quote and love it! I think writing is the ultimate form of human creation since we basically are gods of the worlds we create. We create the people, the foliage, everything! It’s pretty crazy!


    Liked by 2 people

    • *lol* That’s very true, both the creation and “pretty crazy” bits. But like you said, speculative fiction writers create the worlds of their stories, and they have to do so by taking abstract ideas and turn them into reality on the page. It’s a daunting and challenging task, but it can be magical if we do it right.

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. To be honest, this quote leaves me lukewarm. When I see something starting with “A true [someone] does [something]”, it lights up my warning bell: a person saying that is passing a judgement whether others are allowed to call themselves that “someone” (writer, artist, anything) based on the subjective parameter defined by that person.
    Like “a true writer writers every day” refuses that title to people who write regularly (and are devoted to it), but they can’t write every day (for example, they pull off 12h shifts in hospital on some days).
    I do not change the world into words. But I do change worlds into words. I guess I’m not a true alchemist then. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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