I’ve just started to read a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. In the introduction, Bradbury talks about his enjoyment of writing – how the ideas come and take you to a brilliant new place and they spring from your pen and you’ve done it, you’ve created a new world. You can taste this joy when you read Bradbury and the stories I’ve read so far certainly suggest someone who loves the job of being a writer.
I’m not writing this as a review of Bradbury’s book. For a start, I’ve only read about 10 stories so far (and according to my kindle, it’s going to take 160 hours to read the rest of it!). It’s a reflection on some of the things Bradbury says about writing and how I agree with them.
First of all, I quite agree that writing is a really fun thing to do. I love it. I don’t often suffer from writer’s block because I don’t work in a particularly linear fashion so there is always something else to work on or look at until while I wait for ideas to work themselves out. Words are exciting and playing with them can be a delight. There is nothing more satisfying then reading back something and knowing it is good. (of course, there are things that make it less enjoyable. Like the fact that somehow when I opened the most recent copy of Choose Yr future, the chapters were in the wrong order!)
The other thing that Bradbury said that rang true to me was the fact that he wasn’t completely in control of his narratives. Often it feels like this. You don’t know straightaway how things are going to work out. You have to get to know the characters, chat with them, give them things to do before you can really know how they will feel or react. Sometimes they sneak into the narrative and become important without you really pushing them in that direction, other times they tiptoe away without leaving much of a mark. Sometimes its a surprise to find them gone.