Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Perfect Writing Metaphor


Sharon Wildwind

Just when I thought the world couldn’t get any weirder, along comes a dress, not only made by magnets, but to my thinking, is a perfect metaphor for writing.

My husband and I are fond of the site, Wired. If you haven’t been there, it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s science meets geeky tech meets media meets business, and it consistently offers wacky, fascinating looks at the world.

My husband sends me links he thinks I will enjoy, like the one last week: These Sci-Fi Dresses Were Made Using Mega-Magnets. I figure someone has patiently stuck a lot of magnets together in the shape of a dress. I had severely underestimated how weird the fashion world had gotten.

Designers Jolan van der Wiel and Iris Van Herpen used magnetism and it’s ability to foster attraction and repulsion to grow a dress. When I watched the video in the article, I was struck with how those visuals were the perfect explanation on how to write a mystery.

  • Start with some vanilla-looking liquid (Those amorphous ideas we start with.)
  • Add some metal powder (Also known as raising the stakes.)
  • Add some goopy red stuff (I don’t need to elaborate on goopy red stuff for mystery writers. We’re usually ankle deep in it.)
  • Apply a strong magnet (This is that thing Stephen King talked about in On Writing: the way that certain characters and situations apply such a strong pull for us that we have to write them again and again.
  • Sit back and watch something mysterious, lovely, and unexpected to form. (This is where the analogy breaks down the tiniest bit. We have to work darn hard to create that mysterious, lovely, and unexpected thing.)

Here’s the video. In it, Jolan van der Wiel is making a stool, but I understand that making cloth is done in exactly the same way. If you'd like to see the dresses themselves, click on the article link above.

The part that shows the formation process is from the 19-second mark to 1 minute, 59-second mark, but this is so short you’ll probably want to watch the entire thing.


The next time anyone asks you to explain the writing process, I recommend sending them to watch this video.

Quote for the week:
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
~ Erich Fromm (1900 – 1980), German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and sociologist 


2 comments:

Sandra Parshall said...

I can't say the result is pretty, but the process sure is interesting. I could say the same for some things I've written. :-)

Sharon Wildwind said...

Maybe, like us, they work on getting it done first, and then make it pretty.