Writers' Ways 3

Writers' Ways 3

Just start… but how?

How to begin? One might say: ‘Begin at the beginning’. But where is the beginning?

Just as a letter traditionally opens with ‘Dear’, there are established norms in other writing. In a book, a newspaper, an article, or an instruction book there will always something to lead you in. It may be just a single word.

Beside me as I write, there is a newspaper. The main article has opening paragraphs which begin: A mighty...; England will ...; Victory …; With these first words, the writer is trying to entice me to read their article.

As it is a newspaper, I can be sure these openings will refer to some current issue or well published event. What about the book which is also on the table? It has a title and author, so I might know something of the story, but what of the opening words? Will they encourage me to want to read and learn more? Booted …; Luckily ...; Now she ...;

Reading and writing lists

Now to warm up the writing muscles. From where I sit, I can see trees in the garden. From the word ‘tree’, what other words come to mind?

trunk; leaves; needles; shades of green; wood; orchard; garden; bush; shade; creatures; birds; nests; bough; twigs; branches.

To warm up with writing, try to create your own list. Pick a different word and make a list for that. Ask someone else what your word conjures up in their mind. Write it down. Get the mind going.

The next knot.

The next in my series of wood knots is Ripples

© Christine Hawthorne 2010

This knot reminded me of ripples spreading out over the surface of a pool. Have you ever watched a raindrop landing in a puddle and observed the ripple it creates? One little raindrop, that’s all it takes to create a ripple. A disturbance. The bigger the drop, the bigger the ripple. Gradually the ripple spreads wider and becomes weaker until, eventually, the surface and underneath will settle. Who would have known there had been a drop and ripples? Except, if it is a raindrop, there would normally be many more than one and the concentric circles from each would overlap one another and form patterns.

Skimming with pebbles from a beach will leave ripples at every place where the pebble touches the surface. Eventually, sooner or later, the pebble will sink. On the surface no one would know the skimming had taken place, but underneath, on the seabed where the pebble lands, something will have changed. Sand will have been scattered, other stones will have become dislodged and they will not return to where they were.

In life, when ripples occur in our world or disturb our tranquility, nothing ever quite returns to what it was. Life goes on. The ripple may have hardly been noticed, but something will have changed and the bigger the ripple, the bigger the change.

Ripples in creative writing

Still, calm waters

© Christine Hawthorne 2010
Photo of an original painting by the author. The painting is now in a private collection

Surreptitious whispers causing ripples

© Christine Hawthorne 2010

Homework: What if?

  • What if I had not noticed that first knot of wood? The eye.
  • What if my mind had not been distracted?
  • …if I had not noticed that particular knot and the seed of an idea been sown?
  • …if a teacher at school had not made a comment which set me a challenge .....
  • …if a colleague at my first ‘real’ job hadn’t said ‘Go for it’.
  • I might not be where I am today.
  • If this, then that / If not this, then?

You may already know the famous poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). I leave you with it to spark your creativity today: