My favourite author of all time is Isobelle Carmody. If you know me, you've probably heard me mention her once or twice.
Recently I had the absolute delight of attending a full-day course presented by Isobelle. It was fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that I completely forgot to take any photos, which often happens when I go into fan mode.
But, truely, it was one of the most inspirational and insightful writing courses I have ever been on, and I learnt things I have never come across in the hundreds of writing books, blogs and articles I've devoured over the years.
Because Isobelle asked the class to do something no other writing instructor has ever asked of me before.
And that was to really think about, discover and nail down my big questions.
What is it about the world you are trying to make sense of? What questions drive you to find answers? What are the things that make you wonder with deep intensity?
What are your big questions?
Do you question: why do people behave the way they do? Is there an afterlife? Can the environment be saved? Why are people cruel to animals? Will robots takeover? What is control? What is friendship? What is love?
If you think about it, and I mean really think about it, it won't take long to figure out what YOUR questions are, because it's likely you'll realise they appear throughout your works and works-in-progress, lying beneath the surface of story but never actually mentioned or discussed.
And this is good. It means you're writing inwardly. That your heart and soul is in your work.
Isobelle recommends we don't just write what we know, but rather we write our question and examine it through story. Not necessarily in an obvious way, with the plot tied specifically to your questions, but in a subtle way that explores the themes and ideas you are passionate about from different angles and through different characters.
When we do this, we take our readers on a journey filled with emotion, rawness and truth, because, well, our hearts are truely in it. When we write this way, we care deeply about the themes at the core of our stories. And when we care, readers care. They feel connected to us, our stories and our characters.
Why not have a go. Think about the questions that drive you and how you can explore them through your work.
And if you ever get the chance to attend an Isobelle Carmody workshop or class, I highly highly recommend that you do. Her classes are a most brilliant journey.
Note: I attended 'The Journey with Isobelle Carmody' at the ACT Writers Centre.