Dorothea Brande process, a week of writings to set times - I wrote 3786 words in a week, about 500 a day

[Dorothea Brande's book 'Becoming a writer', (Macmillan, London 1983) was first published in 1934 and is now 'the classic inspirational guide' for potential writers of fiction.]

long mass of text - perhaps easier to read if you narrow the screen


16 dec 98 11:30
my first writing to a set time, second series (the first time I tried this was in 1985.)

Without much faith in the need for this exercise I am almost blindly following the second Brande instruction for just 15 minutes and am curious to see what will emerge [from 'within']. But I should admit that a topic is almost in mind, the one that I wrote about this morning after waking, the question of inner/outer or subjective/objective and whether it is a false distinction - which I am almost sure it is - perhaps the first thing to be tackled or eliminated as I proceed with these exercises and with their presumed aim of writing a novel or whatever version of fiction I am suited to write.

The phone has just rung, I can hear it is someone I know but I steeled myself not to answer, but by the end of the answerphone recording I took up the receiver and just missed her - so I will take that accident as oracular and wait until I've indeed written for fifteen minutes before I ring back.

So now to proceed if I can with this question or boundary between the inner and outer - what was it? ... No, I won't try to answer that, I will instead try to recall something that flashed in my memory just then, something that I've often thought and spoken re inner and outer worlds exchanging places, almost, in a formulation of perception that seems to combine or to transcend them. Transcend? Isn't that one of the words to avoid in this discussion if I am going to keep away from the traps against which the French theorists of writing warn.

But to get to that memory: here it is:

My picture of you is something you can never perceive (or only be told of, or infer?) and so is your picture of me. My picture of you and of all else is the character, the nature, even the total reality of what is said to be my inner world. Similarly your picture of me. Thus (and I'm conscious of not saying this quite as I remember saying it previously) each is both inner and outer and the distinction is gone!?.

Well fifteen minutes have gone by and so I am free to go on or to pause, and to phone back... that was 398 words. I'll spell check and read it before anything else. No I won't read it - for I think Brande said 'don't' but I will do an automatic spell check - interesting to see how accurate my fingers have been in this exercise: (five mistakes).

so now to phjone. or to phone!

but I like the first phjone better, he writes, after phoing for the next fifteen minutes.

(c) 1999 john chris jones. You may transmit these texts to anyone for any non-commercial purpose if you include the copyright line and this sentence.