• Grietje Y. M. François

Behind the Writings 2/9

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

The Myth

Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

With a concept in mind and a pen in my hands, I started writing a contemporary science fiction story that would number eleven episodes and be published online at a rate of one episode a week. The idea for the story originated days before the Belgian lockdown. In other words, I gave myself the probable time of the official confinement period to have the concept of the story clear, have it written, edited and published online.

I forced myself into a regime I doubted I would be able to uphold. I knew that I needed to push my doubts aside if I wanted to succeed. After giving it a two-week period of reflection, thinking about how and what I would be writing about, I threw myself into the writing process.

It was clear from the beginning that the story needed to be very relevant. I based it upon lockdown news and on my personal opinion on an entrepreneurial education.

The concept was good enough at some point, but I knew I had to be careful not to create crazy, over-the-top content that no one could even remotely relate to. That’s where my conventions came in, boundaries if you like, to avoid going into all directions. And yes, being in a secluded place with few external factors to seduce me helped.

Does that mean that quarantine is a writer's natural environment? During certain parts of the creative writing process, being alone in a quiet place where you’re able to focus, boosts productivity. Surely, it’s not unlimited. A writer, like many creative professionals, needs to go out and observe, capture life through the senses.* One cannot derive everything from second hand sources such as books, TV shows, memory or imagination. You run the risk of getting stuck just to see your own ideas pass by again. You’ll find yourself in a loop, a good dose of reality can remedy that.

Besides, once a writer gets closer to the publishing process, even the most secluded ones get in touch with real human beings. The kind that uplift your written words to a new level: the editors. Either by mail, phone or a face-to-face, a good editor takes your work very seriously, and no matter how harsh their feedback, they’re almost always right.

*more on inspiration in my next post: “The Muse”.

author: Grietje Y. M. François

editor: Christopher Dunckley

There are nine episodes in the "Behind the Writing" series, the last one will be published on Thursday the 27th of August. The content of these posts is about my personal experiences as a writer, writing my first young adult novel "Naar de haaien." (Dutch).

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