Welcome back for another Mannequin Monday. Today we dress the blank form, the empty page, with art and image. Writer/artist Austin Kleon inspired me with one of his recent blog posts. He focused on artist David Hockney’s photo collage Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2.
I also add writing of my own, my attempt to create a word collage reminiscent of Hockney’s photo collage.
Another Mannequin Monday. This week we look at shaping ideas into tactile form. Sculptor Steven Whyte works from his studio in Carmel, California. Molding clay into sculpture. Dancer Twyla Tharp speaks of her creative process. Shaping movement into dance. “Scratching” to find ideas to kickstart the creative process. And
I include a bit of my own writing, a story I am currently “scratching” at, looking for the truth in my characters.
Mannequin Monday. A day to dress the blank page. To fill the empty screen. To chip away at the block of stone. To shape the blob of clay.
The mannequin’s purpose is to be draped by the dresser. Blank media exists for the artist. Let’s fill and shape, let’s make art, with our words, our visions, our hands.
Every week I will post a story I have read, a bit of discussion on the story, another reference to a podcast, article, or interview, and then an excerpt from my current writing. The outline will mimic the structure of several online fiction courses I have taken with the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. I hope you may find inspiration here.
One of the joys of writing for me is creating a community of characters. Something like putting a band together. And I can thank several writers for teaching me how to do this. Author Elizabeth George, in her Write Away, recommends developing profiles on your characters before beginning to write your story. “Story is character and not just idea.” She says of character: “Give them flaws, allow them to doubt themselves about something, see to it that they grow and change, and make certain you are putting them into conflict.”
I thank teacher and writer Josh Adell for introducing me to The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. Says Egri, “Character is the fundamental material we are forced to work with, so we must know character as thoroughly as possible.”
Both authors recommend writing about your characters for as long as it takes to know them intimately and deeply. For me, I now have about 60,000 words and over 100 pages on character profiles. They represent three or four different stories at this point, but may all meld into one series as I progress. Some characters loom large. Others are minor, with brief descriptions so far. But all of them are distinct, individual, interesting.
My most recent – Maddy Dela Riva. A high school junior, challenged by physical limitations, strong in her determination and courage, maybe a bit cocky, yet insecure in moments of introspection. I look forward to working her into the Film Crew series I’m working on. Maddy came to me the other day, and within hours she was crying out to be part of the story. She has all but forced her way into the series.