Subtitle: Esoteric points regarding the Werewolf Principle for Writers, as Taught to Me by My Alchemy Teacher
I have studied alchemy for many years, and the entire discipline is built around the concept of "controlled transformation." Oddly enough, my alchemy teacher was also my finest writing instructor.
In alchemy we have a concept equivalent to that eastern idea of the Yin/Yang integrated dichotomy, and it is known as the Law of Contraries. As in the case of the Yin/Yang, there are many practical applications that evolve from the concept. Perhaps the most important for the writer is the idea that polarization (or difference) creates motion, and without a writer's thoughts being in motion, no story will be forthcoming.
In the physical world, we know that if we heat air for a hot air balloon, the hot air balloon will rise because the gas density of hot air is lighter than that of the surrounding cold air. Difference is initiated to create motion.
But what has this to do with writing?
It was my teacher's contention that whenever a writer immerses in an aspect of his or her personality that they are creating tension between their waking mind personality and the emphasized aspect. This tension rises because of the struggle for dominance. The emotional and mental energy thus created is what we use to write fiction.
In the long run, the waking consciousness of a writer will emerge victorious, for no one can stay immersed in the mental state of a writer for too long and stay sane. By the same token, no gifted writer can focus only on the every day waking world and stay sane either.
Why is this?
I was taught that it is because gifted writers were born between two worlds.
In my early days as a student of the creative sciences, I found little use for such concepts.
Prove it, prove it.
Where's the peer reviewed study?
If it's true, why isn't it on television?
You get the picture.
Now, I think that we should spend less time on themes, character arc and the rest and concentrate on how to achieve controlled transformation elucidated in the werewolf principle. We should pay more attention to the effect that the lunar cycles have on our writing spirit and less on writing work shops.
Because writers do transform when they write. Are you a writer? Examine yourself if you say yes. You may have the same body, sit in the same chair and type on the same keyboard you always have, but when you are at your creative best, the people who know you will wonder if it was really you that wrote what you did.
Writer who do not control the transformation of their personality when they write, really have, by extension, little control of their story.
What I was taught was that to elevate their writing, writers must study themselves as much and more as they study the basic mechanics of writing. Good tools, she told me, are useless without a good workman.
The question is, how do you control the transformation?