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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: The Creative Process
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/14/1996 4:13:00 PM  

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(4 messages)


Gail Marsella <71551.3200@compuserve.com> asks:
> Here's a different kind of question for you: When you sit down to
> work, I know you're not entirely in charge - the characters are -
> but how do you participate? Did you *develop* a sustainable
> creative process, or were you just always this way? In short, can
> you train - or at least successfully invite - the Muse, and how
> do you do it?

"Here's a different kind of question for you: When you sit down to
work, I know you're not entirely in charge - the characters are - but
how do you participate? When I write fiction (admittedly not often), it
either flows out onto the page as though someone else were using my
hands on the keyboard, or nothing happens at all, no matter how long I
sit there. You don't seem to have any "nothing" time. Did you *develop*
a sustainable creative process, or were you just always this way? In
short, can you train - or at least successfully invite - the Muse, and
how do you do it?"

Hard to say...it's like any muscle, the more you use it, the easier it
gets to use. I think a part of it stems from the fact that I have very
little in the way of barriers between me and the writing. Too many
people who want to be writers feel that when they sit behind the
keyboard, they have to do something different or other...that somehow
WRITING has an overlay of some sort, that it's different than talking.
But in many ways, it ain't any different.

The best writing (IMO) is natural writing, where the words on the page
flow very naturally, very smoothly. Every once in a while, you pull
out all the stylistic tricks, you thunder and lightning all over the
page, when needed for effect...but it's the writing free of artifice
that seems, for me, to work well. If you hang out with writers long
enough, the really *good* ones, you learn soon enough that most of them
talk exactly the way they write.

Lemme give you a forinstance...when Asimov was first struggling as a
writer, he had lunch with his agent one day. He was having a hard time
describing things, using language to paint pictures. The agent said,
"You know how Hemingway would describe the sun rising in the morning?"
No, Asimov said, leaning in...how? "The sun rose in the morning."

There's virtually nothing between my brain and the keyboard; I'm
hardwired that way, which is why I can't dictate scripts...I write
through my fingers. I write pretty much the way I talk. A lot of folks
hereabouts have seen me at conventions, and they've noted that the me
you see here is pretty much the me they see there, and the me that's
just *there* all the time.

If you stop thinking about *trying to write*, and just write...the way
you have to stop thinking about the next step you make, and just
*dance*...the way you have to forget about technique and just make
love...it all comes together. You don't Try To Write. You just write.

As for story ideas...it's just nothing I've ever had a problem with.
As long as your characters are all distinct personalities, the stories
you write will be as distinct and different as they are. Find out who
the character is, what he wants, how far he'll go to achieve it, and
how far somebody else will go to stop him...and the rest takes care of
itself.

jms

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