Go to YouTube.
Watch Bob Ross.
Listen to him talk about painting.
Seriously, this guy… this guy is full of advice for a writer who’s having trouble getting started.
He’s not writing, he’s painting, but… okay, like, he can sit there and talk about geology and the diffusion of light and make it clear that he knows what a mountain is and he knows what goes into the interplay of light and perspective, and then you’ll watch him smear some black paint on top of a still wet canvas with a thin metal wedge, and then take a brush and push it downwards so that it mixes with the base in such a way that it ends up lighter at the bottom and eventually just fades into the background.
And then he’ll take some titanium white paint and do the same thing to add snow and light, and you’re thinking… “But… interplay. Geology. Perspective.” and he’s just pushing paint around, talking about figuring out where the north slope lives and how there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents and then he steps back at the end and holy moly, it looks like he painted a mountain.
It doesn’t look like he pushed paint around for ten minutes, it looks like he looked at a real mountain somewhere and copied it.
Is there a real mountain that matches the painting? No. Could he use this method to exactly replicate an actual mountain? No. But he made a mountain that looks real enough, and even if he didn’t have 100% control over the final look of it, he conjured it out of his imagination.
This is the trick that more writers need to learn. It’s possible to create a story or even a whole book through meticulous planning and careful construction, but… most people can’t do that. It’s not that we’re not willing to put in the work, it’s just too easy to get stuck. Too easy to never leave the “Well, I’m still worldbuilding/researching” stage. Too easy to write oneself into a corner or get bogged down in the details.
So this is my advice today for fiction writers:
Learn how to speed paint.
Learn how to work wet on wet.
Learn how to push paint around on the edge of a knife.
Learn how to figure out where things want to live by feel and how to allow for happy little accidents.
There will be places for fine details and intricate sketches. But when you’re staring at a blank canvas and you have no idea where to start… paint the whole thing blue and start scraping up some mountains.
Quick, broad strokes. That’s all it takes to get you started. Quick, broad strokes and a few happy accidents.
Reblogging for myself.
qglas said: Lilac theme and lilac colors-- pale purple, dark purple, a light green. Outdoor spring wedding w/lots of nature and sunlight, but more bohemian or fantasy than rustic feel. Mega bonus points for a separate-tier cake.
Oh my godddd, it’s amazing. I love the succulents. You are good. SOMEBODY COME MARRY ME.
— Erica Jong (via writersrelief)