I was talking to a writer friend yesterday about the process of creating a story. Be it a short story or a novel we have decided that the best thing to describe it as is playdough.
This is why.
As a child I used to spend a lot of time with playdough. I had multiple colours of dough, a tray and tools stolen from my Mum’s kitchen drawers. I would begin with lots of separate balls of dough in little pots on the table. I’d select a colour and I’d begin to mould it into the shape that I had in my head.
Eventually I would take a second colour and add it to my sculpture. I’d blend and roll the colours together, mixing tones to create new dough. Before I knew it I’d be left with a great mess of muddy brown and my mother yelling at me for walking bright red dough into her cream carpet. (That stain was still there when the carpet was changed a few years later.)
Now I play with words instead. Much less messy, but they still get me into trouble.
I begin with lots of separate balls of words in my notebook, a tray and a laptop stolen from the shelf under the TV. I select a ball and begin to mould it into the shape that I have in my head.
Eventually I add another ball of words. Forming a new paragraph that I add to the first. I blend and roll the words together, mixing words to create new sentences. Before I know it I’m left with a great mess of spelling mistakes and my other half yelling at me for burning the dinner.
As you see, writing is just like playdough. Only this time with less stains.