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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Ink in Thinking

Last night the title on the spine of one of my old grad school texts caught my eye: How Writing Shapes Thinking.

I pulled the book from its shelf and flipped through the pages, skimming bits of the text I'd highlighted years ago. What I read brought to mind something a writer recently told me: storytellers tell their tales to help make sense of a confusing world.

I wonder what I'm trying to explain to myself as I write. Are there patterns in my characters' experiences? Are they telling me things I need to hear? Am I stretching a little as each of them grows and changes? Will I write different kinds of stories over time, as my needs and perspectives shift?

What about you? Do you find yourself writing stories about things you want to understand? Do you think your writing may have a message or a meaning beneath the tale on the page?


At 7:32 AM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Good question, Terry!
I know I write constantly about abandoment issues, characters who find themselves alone in difficult situations without any support. And I think it is the emotional aloneness that I am most fascinated with.

I don't know exactly where this comes from in my own life, because nobody abandoned me!

For readers I wonder if books of a certain theme appeal to them for similar reasons.

One of the themes I love in movies and books is a story of children who must make it through great adversity alone to find their way home. Think Empire of the Sun, one of my favorite books. Doesn't have to be children, as a matter of fact. I'm a sucker for movies like The Incredible Journey, the movie about a cat and two dogs who find their way home.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Scanning the blog from Beautiful Kaua'i, Terry!

Yes, I agree, there's somethintg about writing that brings sense to confusion in the world. Many of us journal, or these days, blog, and we have for centuries, knowing it changes somehow the way we are viewing our situation. Thought shapes words, but words also shape thoughts.

I think I write stories to show human triumph over difficult or desperate situations. I believe in human growth. I believe in the beauty of committed relationships, and I've seen enough of them to know they are real and are stronger than the foibles and flaws of the people within them.

Most romance authors write with a theme that expresses their belief. Sometimes an author may not realize it, but it's there, and it becomes part of her imprint on her readers, who often seek her out because they know she has something meaningful to say to them.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Terry, I agree it's a great question--and I LOVE the title to your post! The "ink" in Thinking...heh heh...good one.

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Very thought provoking...hmmm. The themes of my books usually end up have something to do with my characters having to find a missing link in life whether it be a long lost parent or whatever. Yes, my characters are always looking for something...and perhaps, so am I. Hmmm. Must ponder this further.

Great post, Terry!


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