Monday, April 5, 2010

Circularity

Early in my blogging career, I wrote about some of Jeff the Publisher's rules for writing. This one about "circularity" was of interest. The basic idea is to start with an idea or sentence, write about it, and finish by referencing the idea at the end of the essay. You've heard it before: tell them what you're going to say, say it, then remind them of what you've said.

I've been practicing the concept since, attempting to always reference the opening of my post at the end. You may tell me how I'm doing if you wish.

Jeff the Publisher says this skill is useful even in fiction writing. It conveys the impression that the author knows where he's headed before he gets there. Interesting concept.

This weekend, while talking with My Dear Friend, we broached a subject we've apparently broached before. I was telling her about a subplot in a story which may never be written, and she said "I remember you telling me that."

Well, I didn't, although the more I thought about it, the more likely it became. There are only so many topics in my world, after all, and many of them revolve around writing.

Many years ago I wrote a short story about a vampire (shocking) who keeps running into another immortal through the ages. They end up having a 1000 year conversation about the same topic, because it keeps coming up whenever they meet. One, two, five hundred years may pass, but, "hello, how do you do, I thought about what you said and..." So it goes.

A concept in communication is that of completion. If you get interrupted while telling a story, you have a sense of incompleteness. You know you weren't done with your thought, and it bothers you until you can finish it. Healthy relationships will tolerate a lot of delay within a conversation, but if failure to complete is chronic, the relationship suffers.

As an author, it's important to finish your thoughts on paper. From writing the idea down initially to completing in it such a way that a reader will benefit, completion makes the process worthwhile for everyone. It's ironic that I should write a post about completion. I'm more of a starter than a finisher. But I'm practicing.

And I continue to practice circularity. It's good to know where you're going. That's how you know you've arrived.

3 comments:

  1. being self centered like I am - did I not let you complete your thoughts during out conversation? If I had, which if it was this last conversation I am sure I had in the past and/or will in the future....so please excuse me and I am sorry. Otherwise - good reading today!

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  2. OK - can't type as I see a LOT of typos in my comment above...but I am sure you know what I mean. :o)

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  3. My Dear Friend, our conversation merely sparked the thought. I was by no means complaining about our conversational style. If anything, you let me ramble far more than my fair share and encourage me far more than I deserve.

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