The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Musashi's Writing Advice


There is a relatively simple reason why I have focused upon The Hero's Journey and the yogic Chakras to both represent my reality and as a writing tool.

1) There are two things to write about: what is the world, and who are the human beings who inhabit it? These two tools describe the path of internal and external knowledge.

2) These, unlike almost any other writing tools I know of, describe both the writing and the writer. Therefore, any work I do on my writing teaches me about myself. Anything I do to improve myself also improves my writing.

3) Once you've accepted that the model is not the thing itself, you are free to enjoy a miracle. If you combine these two models, you have wrapped your mind around at least six thousand years of world wisdom about the path of life, and the nature of our experienced reality. It is like glimpsing the arc of a dynamic sphere of life, a construct larger than any conscious mind can grasp...but capable of intuitive navigation.

This is how you know you've reached this place: given any character, a story automatically suggests itself. Given any story situation, a character automatically suggests herself. You "see" and "feel" the connection between them.

4) To access intuition, the component skills of an activity must be absorbed at the level of unconscious competence. This means that you must reduce the basics to a finite set of components, and practice them until they are on "autopilot."

I know of no more effective way to create this internal intuitive wisdom than having your writing approach overlap with your life approach. As Musashi said, "let your combat stance be your everyday stance. And your everyday stance be your combat stance."

Write with passion!

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