People have followed the Facebook posts about my support crew, The Rockweather Guys and the SERL Gurls since 2007. For a long time, I have wanted to present all of their stories as a coherent narrative since so much of the material gets lost in the noise on Facebook. Your comments when I post a new story are endlessly encouraging to me. Thank you folks, thank you so much. One of my close friends, Lois, always comments when I post stories about the one she affectionately calls White Bear (a.k.a Bottomly).
Character development for fiction writing and explaining concepts in academic writing have surprisingly similar characteristics. Being able to create an image of a character in the mind of your reader requires balance. If you over-describe them, you deny them the pleasure of being able to shape their own, personal, perspective and visualization of someone you want them to like. If you under-describe them, vital context will get missed since your reader cannot see what you are seeing. It is similar in academic writing; there is no room for extra, redundant words while ambiguity remains forever a mortal sin.
The advice from every writer I respect is the same: write, write.., every day. There is no alternative. So the stories of my support crew are one way that I practice, developing my way of presenting quirky concepts and ultimately honing what Dylan Thomas called our “craft or sullen art” (Thomas, 1953):
Pooh Bear also has wise advice about how he writes his hums and why you cannot force creativity (Milne, 1928):
“But it isn’t easy,’ said Pooh. ‘Because Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.”
My team also have one, undeniable advantage over cats for company through the long nights: they never scratch the furniture when they get bored….
I love this stuff…
Milne, A. A. (1928). The House at Pooh Corner. 1928. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.
Thomas, D. (1953). The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas. Simon and Shuster, New York. Used by permission of David Higham Associates.