Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Challenge!

Today, I pulled a tarot card to find out what the challenge might be. (you people will believe anything won't you!) The card I pulled is called 'The Hanged Man'. Good card for a challenge.
 OK what is it I want you to do based on this card? I want you to notice that the mystic is upside down. Sure he is hung but he isn't uncomfortable, in fact he has rather a beautific look on his face. And why? Because the work of a mystic, a writer, a searcher, an artist, is to look at the world in different ways. To really perceive the world in a different light. Throughout the ages, mystics, artists and the like have been viewed as strange beings, misfits, outsiders. They are in touch with a world that most folks don't notice. If you've ever been asked why you have a character do this or that or why the theme of your novel seems to involve the colour green and diamonds on the soles of your shoes - you know what I mean.
Your challenge today, dear readers, is to turn your view of the work completely upside down. Either take a character or a plot device or a scene and imagine it in a completely different way. This will loosen you up and make your work when you go back at it - after this exercise - more spacious and fresh. Good (p)luck!

11 comments:

Talli Roland said...

Great tip, Jan! I think I'll turn myself upside down and read the work that way. At least I'll get in some exercise then!

Jan Morrison said...

Yah, and the blood will rush to your head and you'll feel all knowing...

grrl + dog said...

This is a great interpretation of the hanged man.

I've never thought about it in that way before- simply being some kind of personal sacrifice..

but its more the sacrifice of popular viewpoint. to go to a place where you can experience the "other".

Makes this card much more friendly when it pops up.

Jan Morrison said...

thanks Denise, I've been a tarot fanatic since I turned 19. I spent many years gathering the tradition and now I just look at the cards and see what is there. It works for me. I think there is probably a neurotic and sane sense of every card - and I do think it is sacrifice - we have to sacrifice our small viewpoint as you say, our belief that we are standing on solid ground. Sacrifice our belief that the world is flat and there is an up and down when we all know that the world is round...

Words A Day said...

Hi Jan, I'm not sure i get this! When you say turn it up side down do you mean for example, to take a scene and imagine the opposite happening?

Jan Morrison said...

it could be that. It could be that you're writing a historical romance but that you might need to look at it like a social comedy. It might be that you could think of your protagonist as the antagonist. You and I are both in the revision process so this is particularly apt. We think we know exactly how the whole thing goes. Play a game of 'what if?' What if right in the middle of this I decided that my premise didn't work? What would I do - how might it go? We are like our protagonists hoping that life will unfold simply. It doesn't for us and it really shouldn't for our protagonists. What does the world look like when the ground is blue and cloudy and the sky is green and leafy? In terms of painting this is easy to identify - in terms of a novel think of a favourite or a classic that you know really well. Think of Cinderella. Her mother is dead, her step-mother is an avarice-ridden meanie, her father is a wimp (well he is!). What would have happened if instead of her fairy godmother giving her a new dress and a fancy coach and four, she had said - 'I'm calling social services - this is outrageous' and then ss came and fined her step-ma and her dad came to his lily-livered senses. What a dumb story huh? Who would care? Or if when dancing with the prince - she said 'yes, I'm actually a lowly peasant girl beset upon by tragic family circumstances that you could undo with your power and money.' yawn. The prince reaches for his blackberry and answers 'uh, I'm a bit busy with a dragon hunt next week but I could pencil you in three weeks from now. You don't have herpes do you?'
Today, for instance, following my own advice, I'm going to look at a scene that I love but that doesn't exactly move the action along. I am going to turn it inside out. I might write it up (or a synopsis of it) in some wild and bizarrely different way and then what I'll probably do when I go back in is bring it to somewhere between the two angles.

Helen Ginger said...

Very good advice, Jan. I love that idea. I'm going to think of a scene and see what I can do with it.

Straight From Hel

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks Helen. Would love to know what happens!

NIamh said...

Thanks for that Jan! I get it now!

K.M. Weiland said...

I'm always happy to return to Mondays: back to work, back to writing. But good weekends are always more difficult to recover from than bad weekends. Too bad we can't carry the glow into the week instead of the other way around!

Jan Morrison said...

K.M. - yep, that's it. And really, not too put too fine a point on it, I'm a slacker. I do not work that hard. I try and schedule lots of clients for Fridays so I'll feel like I really really deserve my weekends. ha. ;)