Last week, the world bid its farewell to a literary giant. Yet we have not lost him; he is still with us, his words still pulsing through his books, through our hearts, through our souls.
Gabriel García Márquez was a seed planted in a rich and painful time in Latin America’s history, that grew into a mighty oak. We are all his seedlings now.
Have you ever built a house? Written a paper for debate club (or any class for that matter)? Prepared a presentation for a client or conference? Whatever the project, in order to transmit your ideas in a coherent and engaging manner, you need structure, you need emotional appeal, and you need a sense of narrative (yes, even houses tell stories!).
Welcome to the world of the Developmental Editor.
A month ago, we took an hour and wrote about pain as a literary theme. Today’s theme is CONTROL. At times painful, at times rewarding, control is one of those elusive, dynamic, yet ever-present forces in human life. It shifts colors the way chameleons walk across the street. It mesmerizes deeper, faster, scarier than you can bungee jump. It prickles the skin and it haunts the psyche.
But control also gives you unimaginable freedom and possibility. Will you embrace it?
People who know me know I’m a big fan of sustainability. I walk the walk… literally: I walk instead of drive to many places, like the bank, the grocery store, the farmer’s market.
Problem with that is, if you don’t drive your car enough, your battery will die. Actually that’s not the full story. Your battery will die if you drive your car the wrong way.
That’s what the guys at my car dealership explained to me—but only during the second trip in with a jump-started car. I found out that if you make little short trips, that’s worse than if you don’t drive at all. Starting your engine requires a certain amount of power, and if you don’t drive long enough and at a high enough speed (at least 30mph) to replace the energy lost at start up and then some, the next time you start your engine your battery will drain a little more, and then a little more, till it’s sapped altogether.
Well, that’s great, Birgitte, you say, but you posted this in the wrong place. This isn’t Car & Driver, this is The Write Practice.
Some time ago, we did a speed writing session for one hour. Actually, compared to the usual 15-minute writing practices here, an hour might seem glacially slow. But we all know how fast an hour can speed by, especially when we’re wandering around aimlessly in the land of social media while our cursor blinks wistful and lonesome on our WIP in the background, buried multiple browser windows in.
Today, we’re going to do it again. But this time we have a theme. That theme is PAIN.
Before you click away from this page, worried that writing about pain will weigh down your bright and shiny day, think about it for a nanosecond. What is it that most great stories have? CONFLICT. TENSION. Antagonist (force) pushing the protagonist to evolve, grow, learn, progress, or erupt in gratuitous fill-in-the-blank.
Pain is part of conflict and part of life. Embrace it.