Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Courting creative uncertainty

On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft - David Jauss


 What spawns creativity? Are some people born creative and others not? How can you become more creative?  


In his book On Writing Fiction – Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft, author, poet and teacher, David Jauss, suggests thatnot knowing is crucial to art; that without uncertainty the imagination simply does not come into play.


Think about it. The act of creating is defined as “to bring into existence”. If everything about a subject is known to you than, by definition, it has already been created, it already exists.


But aren’t we supposed “to write what we know”?


Actually, that will likely be quite boring not only for your readers, but also for yourself since how many of us live the kind of life that would make good fiction? Instead, consider what Grace Paley said, “You write from what you know into what you don’t know.”


Write from the point of view of someone or something you know, for example, you’re a teacher of elementary students so you know all that goes into becoming a teacher and the specifics about the job. If your character is written from this point of view (what you know) he or she will likely be well grounded and credible.


But for this to become truly creative you have to “bring something (new) into existence”. Begin by seeking out and destroying the cliché, the stereotype, the formulaic plot, the predictable rhyme, the potted theme, all the tried and true, tired and unoriginal conventions and then use them unconventionally.


Be “rejecting, negating and contradicting” all your preconceptions, you enter into the realm of uncertainty, and then, and only then, will the imagination come into play.



Consider the following example:


What is your name? There is only one answer. No uncertainty, no imagination needed, nothing created.


Now choose a pseudonym. Unlimited answers, no certainty, imagination goes to work, a new name is created.