Writing fiction is like being the Speaker of the House. (See #1 above.)
On one hand, you have the Government (See #3; also known as the Right Brain, but only for the purposes of this post; there are limits to even my imagination) – this side is the hotbed of activity and agendas, a chaotic assortment of inspiration. (Ok, so Government and Inspiration in the same paragraph is a stretch. Work with me, people.)
On the other is the Opposition (See #4; for the purposes of this illustration, they represent the Left Brain. Interpret as you wish…) whose main goal in life is to sabatoge the Government in any way possible that will make themselves look better. In terms of writing fiction, the Opposition will nitpick your word choices, question your plot lines, and eat away at your own belief in your story until you’re convinced you have written 13, 188 words of complete drivel.
And seated there in the middle – undoubtedly with a roaring headache – and representing the humble author, is the Speaker of the House. If you’ve ever watched CPAC (televised parliament sessions, for my friends in the USA) you know what this poor soul has to do. If you haven’t, picture a mother with 308 two-year-old kids who just ate about a hundred chocolate bars all left in a room with a single toy. Now pretend the Speaker of the House is that mother.
(Note to self: that would be a great plot for a horror story…)
It’s the Speaker’s job to make both sides play nice, to vote in a way that balances free speech with efficient management of the country’s business (HA! Sorry. I know I’m pushing the believability here.)
Writing a story involves the same political juggling act. You must somehow balance the Government and the Opposition, because both are needed: Government alone would be unbridled creative chaos, lots of great ideas strung together in haphazard alignment, while unchecked Opposition would result in spending the day at the computer and ending up with an alphabetized grocery list as your only creation.
No matter what your personal political leanings are – if you’re more apt to write from the left or right side of the brain – it is your job as a writer to bring out the best of each.
“Damn good reading is damn hard writing.” – Mark Twain