Category Archives: Writing

Listening to the language


Martin Heidegger came up with a radical notion that has enabled a whole new way of seeing ourselves and the world. This notion has since gained wider acceptance, and is especially prevalent in European contemporary philosophy. The notion is this: that language speaks us rather than we speak language. Or that we are constructed by the language. As Heidegger put it, if we listen we hear the language before and as we speak it–the words come naturally to us and shape what is important in the world.

Language can also help us to uncover, to unveil, to reveal the truth. Thus words, through speaking or writing, can help us to see the truth. Words can show us what is there.

The above ideas might not seem so strange to those of us who have tried creative writing. Just as the sculptor chips away at the marble to reveal the figure that was waiting to be revealed, writers have often commented how their stories unfold despite the writer. The writer’s worst-kept secret is that they didn’t write stories; the stories write themselves.

A Stephen King described in his book On Writing, the writer is like the palaeontologist who brushes the dust off to reveal the fossil (writing–the story–the creation–the work of art), perfectly formed  underneath (that was always there).


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Dostoyevsky on truth

Photo of F. Dostoevsky Русский: Фёдор Михайлов...

Photo of F. Dostoevsky Русский: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский Suomi: Fjodor Mihailovitš Dostojevski Svenska: Fjodor Dostojevskij (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To make the truth more plausible, it’s absolutely necessary to mix a bit of falsehood with it.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

I love this quote for two reasons.

Firstly, Dostoyevsky has always been my favourite author – he is a masterful storyteller.

Secondly, although my current writing project is non-fiction and based on historical research, I am looking for the story amongst the facts. And so it reminds me I must use a little imagination to make the truth more plausible


March 9, 2013 · 10:24 pm

Mind Mapping

One tool I have found useful in the conceptualisation phase of my writing project was mind mapping. A mind map helps you to ‘see’ the conceptual framework for your book or other large project. The free mind mapping app I used was Simplemind Free which can be found at the Mac Appstore. Using this app I created a mind map for my book which you can view by clicking on LOVERS OF PHILOSOPHYmindmap.

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