Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Mastery of craft is a mastery of the process, and that requires a mindset that no technique can teach. But do not fear that the process is difficult. In fact, it is the opposite: pleasure and precision go together in writing. Only in ultra-stressed out perfectionists do you encounter the master who is skilled but not the absolute best, in spite of their labours.

The way to master your craft is to embody - and not merely emulate - the context of how a master works. And how does a master work? It is very simple. What is complex is how a wannabe works. In fact, the simplicity can be frustrating, because if you look carefully, you’ll notice the seems more relaxed and pleasured by her work.

Look closer! the context is the message: an invisible something generates mastery in the master’s writing. How a master works is the message of mastery.

What follows are three intrieging glimpses into this inaccessible elite world. I will publish them in separate entries, and I am sure you will learn how the mastery of craft occurs from them.


There is much more to a story than pitting a hero against a villain and letting them go at it. A story is a moral mechanism that exists solely to release the tension of the readers. The technical word for this release, catharsis, may as well be called orgasm, since it is all the same thing. Whatever else a story is, in operation it can be said to be this key entity:

1. A story is a moral mechanism for the release of tension. Knowing this should be a great release of tension for you too, since it means you can relax and focus on the moral mechanism while letting the plot take care of itself.

Knowing that a dramatic context really is “a zone of inevitable opposition of powerful forces that emits ever-widening reverbererations until it is neutralized somehow in a way that creates understanding, insight, and harmony” allows one to “work backward from my perception of the story’s central issue to generate its plot.” Robert Silverbery, Science Fiction 101.

So all fiction, he says, “even the sleaziest”, is a ritual healing art, concerned with restoring natural harmony to the universe. But resolving tension on what scale? Personal writing exists merely to resolve personal tension; public writing, on the other hand, is a public ritual and has special conditions. So here are the conditions of a great story:

ONE. The conflict must be unavoidable. Otherwise, it would be avoided in reality and no tension would be created.
TWO. The conflict must be between to genuinely powerful forces. Pseudo-powers are not adequate.
THREE. The conflict must be public and natural. This means that it is relevant to the larger world.

So the creating of drama is basically creating a very simple mechanism in the mind of the readers. But the actual experience of creating itself is another matter altogether, which the next article will address in ‘How to Create From The Centre.’


Post a Comment

<< Home

follow me on Twitter