Katherine L. E. White

Creator of Worlds

Category: on writing

Katherine’s Log–June 14, 2017

When one writes fiction, the readership tends to think one of two things.  Either, “This is all true, s/he just put different names/places/times for all the people/places/things in involved,” or “This is all completely made up, there is nothing of the author’s personal experience in this piece.”  The latter opinion is more heavily adopted the farther from normal reality the writing is.

Both are wrong.  It’s called fiction because it’s made up, but a person can’t make up something from nothing.  There is always a path that has lead the author to the made up something.  So even in the most outlandish or silliest of stories, there is a deep psychological piece of the writer present.

That piece might be an escape.  “Oh, I wish the world were like this!”  It might be an exploration of why awful things happen, “Why did that serial killer kill all those people?”  Or, it might be an exploration of why beautiful things happen, “How did that man become so happy?”  I’ve written and enjoyed the writing, of all three of these scenarios.

As a reader, though, you’ll find a theme in an author’s work.  The reason for that is the deep psychological piece of the writer that is present in the work.  Consequently, the author’s fears, desires, wishes, dreams, frustrations, and just boring reality creeps into his or her work.  It is unavoidable.  However, to mistake the writing for the writer is to give both a deep disservice.

Katherine’s Log–June 7, 2017

I have been in love with the idea of urban farming since I discovered it was a thing about ten years ago.  I never did it.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I had all kinds of plans for where the chicken coop would go, what plants would go where, maybe even get a goat to clear out the brush behind the property.  It never happened.  After all, doing something like that is a big step.  It ties you down to your land, it might make your neighbors unhappy, and you might fail.

I don’t like to fail.

The idea crept into almost all of my stories.  I wouldn’t intentionally put an urban farm-like setting in the story, but somehow, something urban farmesque would show up as I was writing.  That I tend to write about marginalized populations might be part of it.  After all, people who are not part of the mainstream have to find alternative ways to live.  Having an alternative way to live makes people more marginalized by the mainstream.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Last summer, we moved from the property we’d been living on for 15 years to our ‘dream home’.  Whether it is our dream home or not, it is our dream home, because I’m not moving again.  This place is twice the size of our previous residence, both the house and the property.  We are now on half an acre, walking distance to downtown.

Downright perfect.

So, with an address that probably won’t change until I die, and enough room to do something, I will start my urban farm today.  I can get a real feel for how my characters actually do this, rather than just imagining from research and the few herbs I’ve been able to grow successfully.  The property is filled with gardening beds, all of which are emtpy except for trees and shrubs.  I’ve got a clean slate to work with, and I’m super excited!

Writing when uninspired

file000643944419There are times when writing comes easy–easy peasy.  Then there are time when it like pulling out my eyelashes one by one with pair of tweezers that don’t hold the hair follicle very tightly.

It is called “Writer’s Block”.

Writer’s block isn’t a real thing, per se, it is rather just the lack of the genius speaking in one’s ear.  However, when that little voice isn’t there, whispering the words into your brain, it makes hitting the keys much less palatable.  But as a writer, you have to hit the keys anyway.

I sometimes get overwhelmed by my many projects, and think I need to scale down, that would help with my genius speaking to me again.  But in reality, it is simply one of those ordinary times when one’s mind isn’t as obviously active.  This is when the workhorse mode comes in, always waiting in the wings for when the inspiration fairy has flown the coop.

So into workhorse mode I go, attempting to entice the inspiration fairy back onto my shoulder.  I usually take a walk around the neighborhood with my dog, Sweetie Belle, make myself a cup of tea, (with two sugars and milk, please), find a pleasant area in the house or yard, and start pounding the keys, as Bradbury used to say.

What do you do to fight the dreaded Writer’s Block?

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