“To have a successful writing career you must be willing to sacrifice a great deal. The book, the deadline come first before anything else. Writing is not a job; it is a lifestyle, and it is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. You need self-confidence and an iron carapace.” ~ Virginia Henley Re-blogged from Mary Jaksch ‘Write to Done’ This is so true, but after a lifetime of looking after others, putting every mundane task first, before the writing, it takes a huge leap of faith, to say nothing of enormous discipline, to put the Writing first and foremost.
The following words, could well apply to the Randwick Writers Group, which I convene fortnightly. All members of this group have improved their writing by leaps and bounds (excuse the cliché), one has been accepted for publication this year, and two have had interest from literary agents. Through rigorous feedback, following our guidelines (praise first, then constructive critique, finishing with global) we four are constantly motivated to keep writing.
Janet Malcolm, in her masterly work on the biographies of Plath, makes an interesting point about fiction having more ‘truth’ than non-fiction. It’s fascinating to consider that in some respects fiction could be more true than nonfiction. Fiction is part of a closed world, all in the author’s mind, and even if the author deliberately leaves options open, that openness is part of the author’s created world. With nonfiction, there really is a truth that happened, but there are so many mediators between that truth and the reading audience, each interpreting the facts differently or choosing which facts to reveal, with some having a stake in how the story is presented and understood. How can one be sure of the truth? What’s Fact, what’s Fiction? In ‘Capriccio’ I use the facts of Assia’s life as a scaffolding on which to build the deeper truth of emotions, thoughts and conversations, using fiction. For example, in my chapter entitled ‘Edge’, we know the facts are that Sylvia wrote a letter, and asked for stamps, on the night she took her life. The letter, if it was found, has never been disclosed. My excerpt from that letter is invented, an imagined version of what she might have written on that last day. The fictional letter from Sylvia contains the things Assia might have read about herself. We also know that Assia was shocked to read the vituperative language Sylvia wrote about Assia and David in the […]