Monday, September 28, 2009

Writing without Fear

So I was not disappointed with Word on the Street. The rain held off. The authors were fascinating, the books plentiful and it was wonderful to see so many people there to listen to authors talk about writing and the worlds they created. It really gives a writer a sense of hope that maybe, just maybe, books are not dead.

The best part of the day, for me, was listening to a workshop offered by the Humber School for Writers where Anthony De Sa and Anar Ali were discussing the challenges when writing about people or communities who may see themselves in their fictional work. The actual title was "Do I Have to Hide the Truth When I Write about People I Love?" They were both so honest about how they approached their writing and some of the fear they had to work through to get to their books "spiritual truth". In a nutshell, what I took away from the workshop was that if you approach your writing from a place of love and respect even if some of the truths aren't very nice, the writing is inherently honest and, as a result, so much more powerful. To the writer. To the reader. To the story. And, really, as a writer that's all you can do. You can't worry about what the reaction to your writing will be - well, you can but that way lies paralysis. Honesty to the story is the most important thing.

The workshop helped me understand that my story is my story.It is my 'fictional' truth and I have to accept that however it is received it is its own thing now created as honestly as could be by me. Even if I get slammed for not getting something right or someone taking it the wrong way or, God forbid, somebody in my family thinking one of the characters is based on them. Whatever. I'm proud of my story - not scared of it.

Oh, and can I just say that it's a real thrill when you meet an author whose work you admire and who turns out to be super-nice too? I learned something and got to be a fan girl too. It was great day.

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