Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword, Indeed

I've been enjoying Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.  I think of myself as more of a buckle down and power through woman than a free-spirited inspired type, but I found myself intrigued by many of her ideas.

Yesterday I read her recommendations on improving strengths and weaknesses in writing.  I think I'm pretty strong on dialogue.  World-building and descriptions, not so much.  When I read, I tend to skim through those parts and not slow down to picture the world or savor the descriptions.  I picture characters as existing in a bubble, interacting only with each other.  That's most likely abnormal, but its effect on my writing is that I can hear everything my characters say to each other without being able to focus on anything in their surroundings.  Kiiiind of a problem.

Anyway, Twyla Tharp shares the counsel of sixteenth-century Japanese swordfighter Miyamoto Musashi.  He said:  "Never have a favorite weapon."  She says, "Warriors know they need to enlarge their arsenal of skills in order to avoid becoming predictable to their adversaries.  It's not different when the craft is a creative one, and the stakes are somewhat less than life and death."

So world-building is my set of nunchucks, and I'm off to practice.

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