Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
One of the positives of taking an MA in Creative Writing is the exposure to so much good writing. One of the drawbacks is you start to feel your own work will never come close to the literary greats. An exercise recently was to read and discuss in small groups Hemingway's short story 'Hills like white elephants.' This is a typically terse Hemingway tale focussing on a conversation between a man and woman sitting at a bar in Africa waiting for their train to arrive. It's heavy on dialogue as the power play continually slips back and forth between the couple, revealing the disintegrating state of their relationship. A further exercise was to write part of a short story using mainly dialogue. I gave up on mine at about 800 words realising that A) I'd never write like Ernest Hemingway (and really shouldn't try) and B) I didn't want to! My story was MISERABLE and DEPRESSING, and I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Several days later an epiphany struck - I realised I could write the same story but using my own quirky voice. I deleted a chunk of the original and re-wrote it as a surreal comic piece. It may not have a happy ending, but at least I no longer want to slit my wrists while reading it.
I learned a valuable lesson:
Admire and seek to emulate the great writers in the quality of your writing but be authentic, stick to your own voice and values.