There are times when an idea seems to good to be left in a locked drawer only because we don’t know how to give it a shape. ON! Storie‘s editorial #8 is about idea and form. Can we have them all? We found a mathematical formula that might help.
As Woody Allen makes Ernest Hemingway say in “Midnight in Paris”: “If you are a writer, claim to be the greatest writer!” This is how Woody Allen sees it.
This week’s story is not the best story I have written. To be honest, I’m not even sure that the others I have conceived can be defined as good short stories. But this is another matter.
I decided to have “Limits” published and illustrated because the idea at its basis is a good idea. To imagine a husband and a wife writing in different languages and who can’t understand what the other one creates seemed to me very interesting. Moreover, once I saw the illustrator’s beautiful drafts, I understood that there was no turning back, and that it had to be shared. Sometimes this is the way it goes: perhaps we don’t write it the way we want to. But if the idea is good, we go on.
Therefore, I started to think about how important the form is and how important is the idea. Of course, all of this is absolutely trivial, and the answer should be 50/50. Or not? Thinking back about the stories that we haven’t been able to forget, between childhood and adolescence, and adulthood, do we remember them for their form and style or for the very idea behind them, the story?
If a story was a human being, which, between form and idea, would be the skeleton? And flesh? What comes first, form or idea? And which one of them is the most important?
Perhaps, the form is a fundamental element when one writes, because it’s the tool we use to give life to our ideas. And maybe, the idea is what matters the most when we read, and then remember.
It’s interesting how the reader’s nature mirrors the author’s.
Writing: Form = Reading: Idea.
Inventor and consumer, you might say, simple logic. I wonder whether it is this simple indeed.
Anyway: when it came to “Limits”, I found myself not very interested in form and style. Or, at least, I didn’t think about them much while writing. I just knew I wanted to tell a story, simple enough and with dramatic elements extremely ordinary; because the idea behind fascinated me.
Writing is communication. And if the person we choose to share our life with can’t read what one writes, then what happens? Especially if writing is both parts’ job; a source of joy; and the source of a human being’s ambition.
Furthermore, once I received the final illustrations I realized how the final product was of a pretty good standard because of a) individual elements b) its general whole. In other words, the story did have a soul; and the illustrations matched it so well, in style and details, that the final result was too good not to be published only for a lack of refinement in the form.
Perhaps, creativity (with its styles and ideas, and occasional accessories such as illustrations) is like the life of a career woman: between family, work and a dream apartment, one of the three inevitably slips out. Or is it possible to have it all?