Making a Bowl – a writer’s guide to craft

Most writers, and certainly us newly-minted ones, love the words we write. After all, we have slaved over them, used thesauruses to check the usage of them, spell-checked them and sometimes even replaced them. Our creative imaginations have worked flat out, often over months or years to make something that could, one day, be a bowl.

Finally we think we have reached the end, and hold up our creation for inspection – and it’s not good enough. Of course this isn’t the end. We walk away from it for a few weeks, pretend we are not writers, go for walks, see friends or get on with the rest of what life brings. But it haunts us, that unfinished thing. And one day, we go back to it.

It is the beginning of the next phase- the crafting of the prototype bowl of words and character and plot into a thing of beauty. There is no quick way to learn this craft. Doing it teaches us how to do it. We have to cut, chop, re-write, discard, re-mould, add colour, slice away redundant frills and find the heart of the story we are trying to tell. We have to smooth the rough and decorate the plain and never lose sight of the simple beauty that of the first idea.

And maybe then we will have a bowl fit for purpose, and a beautiful object of which we can feel proud. At least that’s what I believe will happen if I just keep working at it.

So it’s back to the editing pen, and learning me my language, to misquote Caliban.

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