Friday, January 30, 2009

Automatic Writing

People used to talk about something called 'automatic writing' - a phenomena where someone writes without thinking or being aware of what they are putting down on the page. The theory being that they are channeling the creative work of someone else - a literary or musical genius now dead. Perhaps people still talk about this, I am not sure. Please forgive my ignorance.

There is a strange symmetry between this phenomena and something experienced by many writers - when things are going really well. Somehow a switch clicks inside them and the words start to flow. They don't know exactly where they are coming from. They don't know exactly where the story is going. I have heard several writers talking about this.

I have experienced it myself on a couple of occasions. Right at the beginning of the novel Backlash, I had the sense that the story was being dictated to me. All I was doing was writing it down. Looking back on it afterwards, I could see where several of the scenes that I had written must have come from in my subconscious. But at the time, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

I had a similar experience two days ago when I started to write a new story. Another one? (Those of you who read this blog regularly will remember that I recently started writing a new novel.) Yes, another one. This time a children's story. I sat down to write and a new story started to emerge on the page. My instinct and my experience suggests that when you find yourself riding a wave, the best thing is to stay on it and make the most of the experience. So that is what I have been doing. And it has been FUN.

4,000 words so far and no sign of drying up. It will be interesting to see where it leads.

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