"In writing, like in dungeons and dragons, there are sorcerers and there are wizards. Wizards ply their trade through advanced study and a high-level understanding of the rules and structure of magic. Sorcerers draw on guesswork, innate ability, practice and charisma. There’s no point asking a sorcerer why he just changed tense, he doesn’t know."
If anyone fancies popping over and giving it a read, or even throwing in a comment... You never know, in the long chain of causality, it might actually save the world.
In fact, I'll even put my cards on the table and say, I can't guarantee that it won't save the world.
Love your ideas. Always love your comments and posts.
I bookmarked the site. Believe me, I don’t do that too often...in fact seldom. I’ll check in on occasion. Always have loved your stuff.
“Go mad, go stark raving mad. You were halfway there when you thought writing was a good career choice, why not go the rest of the way? Better mad than stupid.” I have seen this work to varying degrees a few times with artist friends/acquaintances of all media. Can’t say it is pretty to watch in any way shape or form, but it is an option and a test of commitment.
Most people I know who have been successful - and I do not put a dollar/pound value on that term, just successful in their comfort with themselves as artists of any genre/media - did it through total drive and total commitment and total dedication. They had talent...HOWEVER their commitment made them soak up everything they could learn like a sponge FROM PEOPLE THEY RECOGNIZED WERE BETTER THAN THEM. You don’t learn squat from lesser talent. Sorcery or wizardry makes no difference, they learned from everyone they believed to be better than them. And this is most important: Never listen to the attitude of the person, but listen to the content of their information. I, and others I know, have learned so much from people we thought were assholes. But we filtered out the attitude and listened to the wisdom of the information. This is key. If you read how much many of the artists in the past hated their mentors you will understand what I mean. They are not there to make you feel good about anything. They are there to help you learn an art and a craft. This is the biggest mistake students make, no matter what their age/experience. They think they actually have to like their teachers/mentors to learn. Totally untrue.
I, personally, was more wizard years ago. In college, one of my English professors asked me - because I was a very good student - after writing my first paper for him on Ibsen – - “What is your major?” I told him “Theatre. Acting.” He replied, “Your paper was terrific. But you write like an engineer.”
So the next paper was on Beckett...well I broke through the mold into Wizardry! I just let it fly...essentially just to say “I’ll show you, fella.” He was shocked that the two papers were written by the same person. We had a good laugh. He really opened me up. He spurred me from being a student to a creator. (Though artists or anyone of any profession, are students all our lives.) One damn comment opened me up.
He was a brilliant teacher. Little bald guy who wore a beret in winter, dressed rather blandly and was about 60 at the time. All the young women in the class ADOOOOORED HIM and found him very HOOOOOOT! And we found out later he had a lovely young – 40-ish very hot wife. One of his book collections was a standard in Universities for years. Samuel A. Weiss at University of Illinois in Chicago. Great guy. I mention his name, because he has got to be way beyond dead by now!
But, the guy changed my life...with one comment. We never know where education/inspiration comes from! Listen and soak up everything. Steal knowledge from everyone who is talented whether you like them or hate them. Cynicism and Skepticism is claustrophobic and Artistic Death.
Currently, I tend toward sorcery. I think most artists do when they get older. I look at Monet’s later paintings. They bring tears to my eyes. He worked all his life for those later years, as do most artists...if they live long enough. But the wizard is always hanging over my shoulder. However, Lostsocks, don’t ever think that something planned, well-structured and written with beautiful, concise language with superb punctuation is not the product of Sorcery!
One thing I totally believe in from my experience...whether sorcerer or wizard: in the end, both need a damn good editor!
Question: do you, personally, think a wizard can expand into sorcery? And a Sorcerer can expand into Wizardry? I kind of explain it with comparing it to the Martial Arts: At the very top, they are all the same. My former Shihan (bad knees made me quit) – has now been selected as a World Master teacher selected by all the great Master teachers in all forms all over the world. But they all essentially do the same thing. The different forms are just another way of getting to the same Truth and Purity.
Good writing and good acting are all the same, no matter where it comes from. I very highly recommend the movie “My Week With Marilyn” to see a beautiful movie about this sorcery/wizardry idea. Because that is essentially what the movie is about. Brilliant stuff.
Great post and I look forward to more on your blog.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, what you say about mentors rings very true...
And about learning from others. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I realised a while back that my writing could be better and needed to be better if I wanted to make a vocation of it.
The experiences invariably prove challenging. Especially having my "I'm a sorcerer, I just make it up as I go!" mentality really scrutinised.
I love the martial arts comparison. I was mulling over the "can wizards become sorcerers and vice versa" question whilst out walking the other day. My instinct was to say no, but really I don't see why not thinking about it. I've discovered often that I *do* use wizard methods of doing things, I just do them intuitively rather than deliberately, but what we're doing is essentially the same.
After I told a tutor that I didn't plan my novels, she started quizzing me on details, and I realised that I had an incredibly firm idea of almost everything that was going to happen and how... I just hadn't drawn any charts.
I think ultimately people *have* to expand in both directions, sorcerers need to pick up the discipline and control of wizardry, wizards need to let go and internalise what they're doing a bit.
Just learning to control my prose has brought my writing forwards in leaps and bounds in quite a short time.
It's like Anakin Skywalker... he's got lots of latent power, but he doesn't learn control so Obi Wan beats him on the Volcano Planet... (just to throw jedis into the mix as well).
I'll keep an eye open for the film when I'm next in town :)