In Which I Cop an Attitude

Something I read a while back in Kate Wilhelm’s book on the Clarion workshop, On WRITING, got me thinking about attitude. I don’t mean “Attitude” with a capital “A,” but rather a writer’s attitude toward the work. Her premise was related to Damon Knight’s concept of “Fred” as the subconscious, though she referred to hers as “SP” or Silent Partner. It’s the part of the brain this stuff (whatever this “stuff” may be) bubbles up from, and it has to be encouraged and reinforced.

Simply put, the more you use story ideas/notions the more you get story ideas/notions, because doing so is positive reinforcement for your own “Silent Partner.” The SP wants to give you what you can use, and if you use what it gives, it cheerfully gives more. Let’s leave the speculations on neural pathways and closed feedback loops for another day, but as anyone who’s been doing this a while can tell you, it just works. So how do you make it work for you? Continue reading