When our critique group sits around the table, the discussion sometimes diverges from our storymaking undertaking, but usually finds its way back, as does my first entry in our blog.
Lately, I am thinking about sunlight. It is a rare commodity in the Northwest this time of year and I know I am not alone in my yearning for it. In fact, light yearning has long been a human preoccupation. Case in point: New Grange in Ireland, built over 5000 years ago. Its huge stones were aligned to allow sunlight to penetrate the inner passage and chamber exactly at sunrise around the Winter Solstice – an awesome engineering feat for Stone Age people – all for the wonder of a focused beam of light on the shortest days of the year.
I am thinking about the enlivening power of light, how each year the sun brings my garden to life. I am not talking about photosynthesis. I am talking about how sunlight shines through the garden: illuminating, dazzling; shadow and bright. The late afternoon slanting light is my favorite.
So how do these thoughts about sunlight transfer to writing? Like the Stone Age guys, we must set up all the elements of the story so that light penetrates the inner passage at the darkest moment. We craft our constructions from the stones of character and plot and language etc., and nudge our readers along to that moment of enlightenment. Light is about contrast, so of course dark is part of what we work with. But what exactly provides light, the enlivening element, in a story? What shines through, transcending the words on the page?
Or maybe it’s not the author but the reader who brings light to the work? Hmm. More thinking needed.
This is the kind of conversation I love to have with our critique group. Here, through our blog, we invite you to join the discussion.