This week I chatted with Craig Silvey about the screen adaptation of Jasper Jones and the writing process.
Here’s a snippet:
Monique: So, when it comes to the writing process, are you a plotter or pantser?
Craig: I’d be a pantser, I think. But a very thoughtful pantser – sounds like a strange fetish. I think about things a great deal before I will commit them to the page. I’ll start with the spark of an idea or something that interests me, and then I’ll have enough material or enough substance there to feel as though if I embark on the story there’s going to be something to it, there’s going to be enough merits or meaning behind it.
But I won’t sit down and decide who a character is before I’ve fleshed them out or met them and spent time with them. I won’t decide what their journey is before I’ve given them the opportunity to go on it. I think it’s a dishonest way to write, a slightly cowardly way to write, to be honest. I think a story and the people within it need to guide you as much as you influence them. It’s kind of push and pull, I suppose.
Of course, there are the contrivances of writing and you’re aware that when it works the best is when you’re inhabiting a similar kind of hypnotic state that you’re in when you’re reading. You’ve got to try and will yourself into that place, that’s when it works the best.
It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, everyone faces the same blank page, same terror.