Friday, December 10, 2010

Reading, writing and dreaming

I discovered the following comments written by Lindsay Clarke a while ago and return to them often - among other things, they remind me of the importance of 'show don't tell' and how that fundamental technique connects the reader to the writer and the story.

"Reading and dreaming have much in common. In both we generate images out of a limited visual field. These images move and disturb us because we are immediately involved with them... yet they arrive without overt explanations and require us to work for meaning." (p 257)

"...dreams remain a great mystery, but their vocabulary of images seems to allow the oldest, pre-verbal parts of the brain to speak to the neocortex, thus opening a channel of communication between the conscious and unconscious minds. By flexing all the inward senses of the imagination, fiction can tap us into that hotline...good writing literally works like a dream...we are set free to dream the story ourselves." (p 258)

Both quotes come from Clarke's chapter, "Going the last Inch: Some Thoughts on Showing and Telling", in The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Writers Share Advice and Exercises for Poetry and Prose, (eds) Julia Bell and Paul Magrs, Macmillan, 2001.

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