Are Writers Normally Reclusive Characters?

It’s a strange thing but most writers seemed reclusive in nature. Shunning the limelight and almost nothing is known of their private lives unless an autobiography is written about. Which seems true, since almost everything we know about them is from what we gleem from published reports.

Is it a condition by nature or brought about due to success of a book?

Or are the writings of writers; windows into a secretive personality? A book is a means for a quiet soul to be heard. An avenue for him/her to scream out their protest against a world that is deaf in its loudness.

I think this reclusive nature is born about the fact that most of our writings are done in the privacy of our thoughts. When writing, our world concaves and pulls inwards. We create a sphere of solitude, where our minds can explore without the ding of everyday sounds. It is a world we feel sheltered and safe in. And if you live in this world long enough, we carry it over to the real world via our quiet, introverted nature.

A recluse to the outside world but a normal citizen in the world of our writings.

I can imagine it, sitting in a room with C.S Lewis, Tolkien, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Mitch Albom, Rowling, and we are all quiet. Not an awkward silence but rather a confident-silence. A sense of security that I am in the company of my own, and in this silence we speak volumes. We have come to a place of refuge where we can rest from the chatter of the world and rest in the knowledge we don’t have to tell stories to one another.

In a company of silence, it is the quality of the companionship and the strength of presense that shines out.

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There’s a story in every moment

You can sit on a plane or at a (boring) meeting and there may be a story lying in wait. All you have to do is turn, smile and talk to those around you. Every one has a story, has a phrase that sticks, has a tale to tell and places they’ve been. All you need to do is turn, smile and start talking. Do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with the ones near you. And above all, after asking, listen to what they have to tell and take note. You never know when that phrase would seem appropriate when you are writing conversation or laying down a plot.

There’s a story in every moment.

Too many times we try too hard to fomulate a great story. We labour over ideas that HAVE to be spectacular, mind blowing and out of this world. We fashion large words and create outlandish worlds to plant our single dimensional characters.

But stop and talk to those you meet on the bus or a plane or sitting at a coffee shop and you’ll gain a wealth of stories. Real stories with real people, living real lives with real problems and moving in real time. You then take on the role of scribe and thus, chronicle the lives of everyday people. It doesn’t have to be outlandish or spectacular, just honest and true.

Try it. talk to someone and listen to the story, yet untold.

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How to choose the RIGHT language to write a novel.

Let’s keep things simple. You want to write and you want to be published. So what language will you write in? It sounds like a dumb question and I can see some of you rolling your eyes and fidgeting in your seat; ready to flame my blog. But hear me out.

Language choice is a BIG decision, primarily because it can determine whether you would actually finish your novel/short story/article or love letter. Anyone can write, thats why we go to school. We learn to spell words and articulate our minds onto a medium called paper.

Yet, language will determine the feel of the story, the life of the story lies not in the writing itself (per say) but rather in the language used. Language determines the way the words are spoken by that invisible story teller, who sits in reading room of our mind and language moves us to think, to dream and to imagine.

Write in the language you think in.
If you think in Chinese, try writing in Chinese and so on so forth. Writing in the language you think creates flair in your stories. It just means, you have mastery over the language. By being a master of the language you can play with words and sentences and allow yourself to speak your mind. Remember, creative writing is about painting your mind onto a printed medium for people to read. Paint using the colors that you are sure of. Write in the language that you think in.

Now, there will come a time when you choose to write in a language you learnt..

Write in a foreign language if you want to reinvent yourself.
When I write in Bahasa Malaysia, my style changes. It becomes dead formal. My sentencing becomes rigid and it takes on an air of formality. Yet, when I do attempt to write in Bahasa Malaysia, I am not govern by the rules of the language because I don’t know them. My writing takes on a flair akin to a mad-man ranting away nonsenses. So, if I ever want to write in Bahasa Malaysia, it’ll probably be poetry or a compilation of short stories by inmates of the local asylum.

Write in the language you read in.
Writers are in part hugely influenced by what they read. We pick up a writer we love and in time our style matches them to a certain degree. We take on some of the way they sentence their words or speak their minds. My own style is (ironically) greatly influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes series, and lately by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Nicholas Sparks. These are the writers I read and they all write in English.

Write in the language you vocalize your stories in.
Writers need to be good story tellers. For example, imagine sitting in a coffee shop with your friends and it’s your turn to tell them your story. You need to grab their attention, keep them hooked, allow them to follow the story, allow them to experience the characters. This imagery is the one I keep in my mind when I write my short stories. I imagine I’m telling the story to a friend. This is what I deem the Voice of the Writer. Every writer has their own unique voice. It’s their fingerprint in the literacy world. We recognize each other by the way we speak on paper. So make it a point to try to translate how you vocalize your stories to people onto paper. Try to mimic the phrasing and sentencing onto paper and you’ll find that your writing has taken on a new dimension.

So why are you still reading this? Go write something.

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Know your friends.

The man who backbites an absent friend, nay, who does not stand up for him when another blames him, the man who angles for bursts of laughter and for the repute of a wit, who can invent what he never saw, who cannot keep a secret – that man is black at heart: mark and avoid him. Cicero

Love this quote and how true it is. We all have friends and yet how sure are we who are our true friends. How sure are we that we have friends that will hold firm when shit hits the fan?

Most writers will concur with me that they have few friends in their lives. Often times, writers keep a select few, these are the privileged few whom read the first manuscripts or drafts or comment on the latest plots and twists.

Keep friends, real friends and cast out all the pretenders because at times we mirror the friends we keep.