Taking a Tip from Forrester
Didn’t you love it when your teacher said, “Tonight for homework I would like for you to watch on tv . . .” but then hoped the next words weren’t, “The State of the Union Address?” Well, if you are looking for a little kick start to your writing, I encourage you to watch a movie that inspires you to write. Some of my favorites are Finding Forrester, Stranger than Fiction, and You’ve Got Mail.
Though I haven’t watched it in a bit, I am finding myself taking advice from William Forrester, played by Sean Connery, to his young prodigy. . . .
A few years back I read Inside Out and Back Again. (my post about it) That did it! I was hooked on stories in verse. I ached to write one myself, but was knee deep in the Chicago Fire at the time. I knew it couldn’t be any ol’ story that I chose to write in verse. It took a long time to come up with the right idea. And now that I have it, I’M REALLY STUCK!
I’m so intimidated to follow in the steps of Thanhha Lai, Jaqueline Woodson, Karen Hess, Katherine Applegate, Alexander Kwame to name a few of the seriously polished and amazing writers who have fashioned beautiful treasure boxes of powerful language in as few as ten words on a page! Seriously? My word pictures lack color and clarity. I am wordy, not succinct. I go wide, not deep. I am in WAY OVER MY HEAD!
Which brings me back to Finding Forrester. William Forrester, an acclaimed author turned hermit, offers this piece of advice to his charge, and to us. (Paraphrased or altered by my memory). . . Starting is the worst part. If you don’t know where to start, borrow someone else’s words and before you know it, they will turn into yours. (No duh side bar: Keep in mind, however, the high school student did get into great trouble for plagiarism when he entered his essay into a competition. I, nor William Forrester, are encouraging you to take someone else’s words and claim them for your own.)
With this in mind, I am studying some of my favorite novels in verse and recording bits that stand out to me. Writing the rhythm, feeling the strength of the words, getting a sense of siphoning a scene down to its bare truth. As I immerse myself into Jacqueline’s Brooklyn, Billie Jo’s dust covered world, Kek’s first taste of America, Ha’s trip on the ship, and Filthy McNasty’s court time, I am slowly feeling my story churning, bits of it jumping into mind and immediately onto my journal. Line by line and moment by moment this new story will come.
What inspires you to write?
What helps you get started?