The Texture of Writing

Writing can be one of those wonderful arts which might look simple on the surface, but with a whole lot more going on than is immediately obvious.

I'm coming to the end of the new book I'm working on, and have also been doing a bit of teaching of late, which has left me thinking about the texture of writing.

It was spurred by a session I did at the wonderful Maynard School in Exeter, talking about creative writing and journalism, too -

Simon teaching maynard.jpg

Apart from the shirt, all else seemed to go well - the lesson certainly sped past - which left me reflecting on why that might be. And I came to the conclusion a lot was to do with the texture of it.

I try to put plenty of pace and variety into my teaching - maybe a bit of me waffling to start, then a group exercise, then me talking again, then a discussion, then an individual exercise etc.

Which I think is a big contribution to the session working. It's almost as if you don't give the group a chance to get bored - they're always being challenged and left wondering what's coming next.

Perhaps it's the same with writing a book. Changes of pace are very effective in keeping the reader interested. Maybe we start with some action, then characterisation as we meet some new people, then some description, then an argument, or chase scene, or some more action...

And that brings me back to a theme I return to time and again in these little musings. I don't put all that variety into a book consciously - it just seems to happen.

I wonder if it's the subconscious understanding we have of how to be storytellers, something which I suspect is innate in us all. That we have to mix up our tale, or the audience would lose interest.

It's yet another lesson I've learnt about myself, and the writing art, simply from the joy of doing it.

Ah, the heady voyage that is being an author. We are fortunate creatures indeed.