Writing Fiction: Using the Right brain and the Left brain
My creative writing teacher has been echoing in each class the value of waiting.
- Of waiting for an ending to come to you when a story is going nowhere.
- Of waiting for a period to read the story again to see if it is worth sending to an editor.
Here’s his reason for waiting before looking at a piece of your own writing again:
- Writing is a combination of Left brain and Right brain activity:
The Left Brain is Logical, Sequential, Rational, Analytical, Objective, Looks at parts
The Right Brain is Random, Intuitive, Holistic, Synthesizing, Subjective, Looks at wholes
- Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain ones. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy. Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.
- So, fiction writing stems from the right brain, but needs to be examined by the left brain in order to really work for a reader.
- The waiting is all about letting the left brain take over from the right, which can only really happen if you let some time pass, between writing a story and looking at it again.
Benefits of waiting after writing: the story that emerges
- You are able to detach yourself from the story, to look at it as if it was written by someone else.
- Your subconscious might have been working on the story while you did other things. When you come back to the story a few weeks, months, or even years later, the solution for some dilemma in the story might be right there, waiting for you.
- You will have a better fleshed story, and be able to identify and cover up the holes in the plot.
- You will probably be able to eliminate spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- You might be in a better mood while you are looking at your work after a period: this might give you a fresh perspective, tell you what the story is really about.
The other day I was reading an article that said Kafka had a placard placed over his writing desk, saying “WAIT”.
I am thinking of doing the same. The next time I have the temptation to shoot off something I have written, I am not giving in.