Day 443 – Embracing the Void.

I’ve just read a great article by Gwenna Laithland advising writers to use ‘white noise’.

Basically, white noise is the void – the bits you leave out which the reader then projects their own thoughts and imagination onto.

Laithland uses the example of a Harry Potter stage show casting Hermione Grainger with a black actress. J.K. Rowling admits that she never specified her heroine’s skin colour.

I often get caught up in feeling the need to give more detail in description and narration – partly because I write dialogue much more easily and my pages can quickly resemble a play script.

I like writers at both ends of the spectrum. The very precise and detailed, and the void.

So which is best?

I suppose the answer is write with detail when you need to manouveur the reader into a specific place and embrace the void where it really doesn’t matter.

I am still working on this.

Three Writing Lessons from Taken.

So, this evening my youngest son and I sat down to watch the Liam Neeson movie Taken.

When I say youngest, he’s almost twenty.

And he is as incredulous as you now are that it took us this long to watch it together.

I love movies like Taken; other personal favourites being The Equalizer and Man on Fire.

The reason why I like these kind of action movies is that there is a clear set of ‘bad guys’ and the ‘hero’ gets the job done. Black and white. No ambiguity.

So how can I possibly get three writing lessons from Taken?

  1. Brian Mills clearly tells the kidnapper at the other end of the mobile phone, who has just seized his daughter, that he has a special set of skills.
  2. Mills calls in favours and gets people to assist him.
  3. He uses the important phrase ‘I will’.

A Special Set of Skills.

To begin with Brian Mills has a special set of skills. He has spent years learning, practicing, and executing those skills. He has learnt his craft and become a master.

You have a craft. The use of words in sentences, in paragraphs, in chapters. The use of plotting. The use of creating characters in those plots which your readers care about.

Continue to learn, practice, and execute those skills.

People to Help.

Mills has a core of equally enterprising and resourceful friends, which he can call on to help him at any time and anywhere. He has also learnt how to gain the services of others when he needs them. You perhaps need to be more polite in the way you ask for that help, however.

Get yourself a group of other writers, or artist friends, who can understand you and assist you. Reach out and gain help from others, whether it is for location details for your novel or the couple in the coffee shop who are oblivious to you noting their speech patterns or movements towards each other.

Gain the trust and help of others to accomplish your tasks.

I will.

Mills thinks in the definite. He will hunt them down. He will find them. He will . . .

Perhaps, maybe, I think . . . all need to be tossed in the bin. Now, you will. You will complete the draft of your novel in the next thirty days, or you will solve your plotting issue, or you will improve your characterisation or location settings.

You will write the best novel you can write. Definite.

Three Writing Lessons from Taken. Done. Definite.