Do you consciously choose what and how you write or are you seemingly bound by your own personal predispositions?
I remember the moment I decided I was going to write a ‘book’, not a novel, a ‘book’. It was going to be a lighthearted, humorous, heart warming children’s story, full of magic and sentiment. And so I began… A few pages into my masterpiece the storyline took a sudden dark turn. I screwed it up and began again. This happened about ten times before I gave in and decided just to write whatever came – just get it all down and assess it later.
I still haven’t managed to write that children’s story, but I have made great progress with my fantasy novel. I also wrote a film-short which may or may not be made. The film script, though not fantasy, is dark and violent.
The cinematographer who expressed a strong interest in making this film also asked me to write a couple of other things: a heartwarming innocent love story between two pre-teens and a film using a hotel room and a model. Again ‘heart warming’, ‘innocent’ and ‘love story’ failed to inspire, in the end I had to admit defeat. The ‘model in a hotel room’ completely stumped me. I mean, to start with, I felt I was possibly being asked to write something voyeuristic, especially given there was to be no dialogue – and remember we’re using a model, not an actress. The more I wrote, the more I felt not only was I pushing the boundaries of my own principles, I was also writing against the current of my own creativity. I eventually sent something over, with which I was mortally embarrassed.
In retrospect I should simply have said it was not my kind of thing. The problem when you’re a ‘struggling writer’ is to think you have to take on anything that comes your way. Certainly it’s a great idea to challenge yourself and perhaps, once you are more accomplished, you can turn your hand to more genres. However, it’s also true if a reader reads something of yours and loves it, he’s going to want to read more of the same, not something completely unfamiliar.
I had a discussion with a writer friend recently about this issue. I was worried a piece of writing I’d sent off to a course tutor wouldn’t be his ‘thing’ (having read some of his own work) and therefore he wouldn’t get it. She asked me if I only read and like fantasy novels – ‘of course not’, I replied, ‘I read all sorts of literature and can see merit in a great many styles of writing’, (yes I actually speak like that (not really)). She suggested it was perfectly likely, although the tutor may not write in a style similar to mine, he would still appreciate it. She also added that my kind of writing really appeals to her, but she simply cannot write in that style herself, it’s just not what comes out when she puts pen to paper.
We are all a delicate mixture of our experiences and our natures which is why, thankfully, there is so much diversity of writing out there. I’d love to know more about your writing voice. Is you writing voice very different from your everyday one or very similar? Do you feel you write more masculine or feminine biased pieces; does this contradict your own gender? Do you have that wonderful ability to write in many distinctly different styles or have you developed a very strong style of your own that comes through whatever you write?
PS I know the headline is a bit odd, but I love the word ‘bent’, it has so many different meanings; a cheeky little word.