In between my commitments to my Writer’s home and the epub, I have most of my time occupied for time, not to mention that I’m back to FT work for a year. So I figured I better sneak in time whenever possible to actually write a post rather than doing lyrics posts or other alternative forms of what I call ‘slack/rush posts’.
What I’m referring to in the title of this post is actually what I experienced while working on a short story for the epub. To anyone who has read my About Page, they would know that I dream of writing a fantasy series based on ancient China, not now but one day. Now, for the epub, we had somehow decided that we will impose a theme on each issue and the theme for the first one yet to be released will be shape-shifter. Now I’m the type of writer who can’t really write with any type of pre-imposed constraints and a theme unfortunately often works as one on me. But somehow amidst my “turning the theme on its head” attempts due to personal dislike of the shape-shifter theme (actually the irony is that I’m the one who suggested it but that’s a long story for another day).one single scene of a teacher teaching children to write, two pieces of information from a HK TV drama and the Internet respectively and one of these ‘turning the shape-shifter theme on its head’ ideas of mine just came together and suddenly I’ve got a short story set in ancient China.
Now, I won’t delve overlong into my planning stage except to say that I cheated by chomping the story into two so that I can concentrate on the part where I know everything in a broad sketch way. In actual writing, I still encounter ‘blocks’ caused by details that I haven’t thought out completely as wont to crop up unless one actually works out all the meta-world stuff first. I’ll admit that while I cannot completely ‘wing it’ and just write, I also don’t have that kind of patience to delve down into that kind of level of details before I write. So going back to that particular story I was writing, I fully experienced the joy of ‘write-as-you-go’ as I call it as I was writing it and I think it’s a showcase of the power of ‘write-what-you-know’. To be honest, I didn’t really have belief in either before. I can handle a bit of ‘write-as-you-go’ but prior attempts show that I often write myself into a dead corner beyond an article type of creative writing which is what I do at my Writer’s home. Not real fiction in the way of novels and short stories but what I call meta-world fiction in which I write up particular aspects of a world in pretty much an article format but with prose. It’s been dubbed ‘meta fiction’ by the current leader of this Citadel epub that I’m participating in now. And I never really had respect for the idea of ‘write-what-you-know’ by which I mean that I know it’s technically correct but I have no personal use for the limitation it imposes on one’s writing (again, no limitations/constraints please!).
But everything has an exception as my Chinese short story (it’s called A Thread of Chance or Thread for short) shows me. I guess the take-home message from this experience is this: turn whatever you normally think of as constraints/limitations on its head and apply it differently and just see how it works out. You might get pleasantly surprised.
May everyone find some pleasant surprises of their own!