Friday, October 22, 2010

The deep dive

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of giving Jenni some feedback on her most recent novel. Towards the end of our session, I tried a technique that I'd heard about in a governance seminar last month; it's called a 'deep dive', and all it involves is taking the time to dig into one particular issue, asking questions about and exploring its various facets (without having a particular agenda or wanting a particular outcome), and seeing what emerges.

For Jenni's novel, I asked her about the various ways she - as the author - had used 'anger' in her novel. It's a bit of a recurring motif, and it's something I have a particular interest in; The Limit is all about anger, and in fact writing The Limit taught me a lot about dealing with anger in my own life. That one question revealed a lot of things to me that weren't clear from my reading: in particular, the use of anger as one of the stages of grieving, and the repressed anger of the novel's love interest.

Pretty much all of the stuff that came out of our wandering conversation during this deep dive, I was able to think of ways to apply to the rewrite of the novel, hopefully strengthening the elements that Jenni already has in there.

It's not a technique that I'd do very often; maybe once every couple of script meetings; but I think the deep dive has a real place at the writers' table.
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