Aug 20, 2008

Writing Wednesday - Negotiating with the Dead

From the jacket: What is the role of the Writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain - or excuse! - their activities, looking at what costumes they have seen fit to assume, what roles they have chosen to play.

I have seen this book referenced by a lot of other bloggers when talking about books on writing. I know some of you have read it. I am interested to know as well how you personally answer the question of what is the role of he Writer?

Initially Atwood set out to "examine the various self-images...that writers have constructed for themselves over the years" (xvi). Hoping in part to determine the "costumes" that have been worn. As a writer, do you find yourself wearing a costume? What is it and why do you wear it?

7 comments:

  1. I'm not a writer bit I feel most writers wear the costumes of the characters they pen about. Don't you? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's true writing is a bit like acting - but only on the surface. You don't slip into a character's shoes, but literally (lol, irony!) inside his or her mind. And more - you actually become the text.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I write, I don't consciously "wear a costume" but I do tend to adopt a certain voice which expresses my thoughts. I've found that there are certain writers who affect this voice more than others: Madeleine L'Engle is one. When I read her journals, I find myself writing and even thinking in that reflective, ruminative voice.
    I think I will need to look for this book, as I am always trying to improve as a writer!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It depends on what I'm writing. A good deal of what I do has to be in-character, as if someone else is doing the writing. As such, I would say yes, I wear a costume, as I have to get into that character's mind and write the way they would.

    As far as role, mine is the jester - to entertain, while maybe raising a question or two in the process. I write primarily for roleplaying games, and love a good moral dilemma, one which the players cannot fight their way out of, where they must make value judgments and work out the situation through proper role-play.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A writer is a bard, a storyteller. People often ask me whether different characters are autobiographical. The truth is that all of my characters have at least a little bit of me in them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Since I write (at the moment anyway) strictly memoir-style (for lack of a better term at this hour of the morning) my only costume is me. However, I do believe that in order to convey the true essence of a character, an author must inhabit the being of that character. So in that sense, yes, we do wear costumes as we act and react on our page stage.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The few things that I've written outside of blogs and comments have all been in the fantasy realm. When that happens, though, I do incorporate some of myself into the characters, while also modeling other characters off of those around me. I think all writers are influenced at least similarly.

    ReplyDelete

Bibliophile Exploring Dystopia | Speculative Fiction | Food & Community