*If the title sounds more random than usual, check out Janiel's last post.
Was it Michaelangelo who said that when he sculpted from marble, the finished statue was already there, he just had to remove the superfluous pieces? I think it's the same with writing. Stephen King described stories as "found things." (Not that I'm comparing myself to Stephen King. Or Michaelangelo.) The story is there, somewhere. We, the writers, just have to find it, catch it, and then write it down; chip away all that extra marble, as it were. (Chipping marble is hard work, by the way. Maybe that's why it's taking me so long to write my book.)
Every now and then, I hear voices: sentence snippets, a character talking. But when that happens, it's like it didn't even come from my own brain, more like someone else put it there. It's pretty weird and a little freaky, in a good way. This doesn't mean writing is a passive process. No story would ever get done if it were. When I do get those rare flashes of brilliant inspiration (which I don't take credit for, since they don't come from my own brain), I think maybe that's the story nudging me along, reminding me that it's still alive.
But those long, desert stretches in between - that's all me, baby. For better or worse, that's me doing my darndest to chip away the marble and write down what I find underneath. Because as Jack London so wisely and brutally pointed out, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
Not that I'm comparing myself to Jack London.