Monday, 18 October 2010

Philosophy of writing

Recently I have gotten back in touch with a online friend of mine (Milo) from Germany that due to his college commitments had fallen off the radar over the last four months but hey I was off the radar for just short of two with a rather less creative reason. As per our usual the topic changed swiftly from the- how have you been my friend?/ What are you working on? Kind of questions to more philosophical ones about the craft of writing such as: Do you have to have first hand experiences of the subjects you write about to truly get to the emotional core of your characters and understand their situation? Does writing only about what you know expand the characters and create an authentic feel to your subject or just limit you as a writer and storyteller?

These are the kinds of things we will converse about for hours yet as a person I tend not to think about when writing. My stories all have some personal element even if my story was set on another planet I'd put something in their of myself, I guess I use it as my way of creating a bond with my characters and I've never really considered it to be a particularly bad thing but I guess it could be conceived that my writing has always got a slightly dark undercurrent running through it some may consider that to be my "voice" as a writer or others may realize it to be my glass is half empty outlook on life either way I'm probably stuck with it for the immediate future at least. In my opinion the old adage write what you know is good in principle if you know a lot more than me, lol, I write characters based in part on people I've met on/offline and tend to impart some of my life's tortures onto at least one of them in each story other than that I tend to let my imagination run free.

I don't think writing about your own life experiences is limiting for a writer's longevity as you will continue to experience them up until you breathe your last breath but I think taking creative risks and stepping out of your comfort zone regularly is vitally important to hone your craft as a writer even for a run of the mill hack like myself. Another question he brought up was has the loss of a definitive white hat and black hat divide within modern television and film creating the anti hero led to in part the influx of morally ambiguous youths? I know what your thinking what a time to give up drinking, lol, I was thinking the same thing. He likes to ask me questions that leave me scratching my head and thinking what are you smoking kid?

So for anyone in the dark on the white hat/ black hat reference it refers to the old myth that in the early western movies the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys always wore black. Personally again this is only my opinion not the gospel truth just one slightly daft Scottish guy's opinion here but I'd say the antihero isn't a new concept remotely and I think the same argument was raised in the late 70s early 80s during the boom of the video nasties (banned horror movies) that those horror films would lead kids to loose their morals and although undoubtedly some people can be effected by any violent content be it in film or a TV show for the most part I think it's not a valid argument. TV and Cinema shouldn't be responsible for teaching children morals that is the job of their legal guardian and their teachers at school unless of course we're talking about Sesame Street or any other show like that.

The anti hero is a character type that is popular because she/he is usually anti authority and who wouldn't want to talk trash to their boss and get away with it? I don't even work and I'd love to do that, lol. I think in general it's the fact that most people have a strong moral compass that leads to these characters being so widely appreciated as they get to do the stuff we would like to do but know to be wrong that is what makes them so darn interesting. Anyhoo I've babbled on long enough and can't actually remember what I was originally going to write in this post as all this was going to be paragraph one only, lol, oops.

Thanking you
The Housebound Writer

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