Friday, April 27, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge: X is for...


For my entries in the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on writing elements that I find important and that I want to incorporate into my work.

Today, the topic is X-FACTOR.

I think that with art, sometimes the entire reason why a piece speaks to me can't be determined.

Why do I like one piece of music over another that is similar? Why does a one painting stay with me longer than another that is much like the first one? What makes one movie have more impact on me than another similar one?

And in writing: Why do I care more for one piece of fiction over another piece with a similar style?

I could go through my entire A-to-Z list so far and rate the pieces on each element – believability, characterization, dialogue, and so forth. But I think there are times where all these would be so close as to not make a difference, or would all even out, and I would still be left with no clear reason why the one piece resonated more with me than the other one.

I could just ascribe it to personal taste, and I think that's a part of it, but I believe there is still some undefinable quality that the one story has that the other one doesn't. It's something unquantifiable, elusive, and mysterious.

An X-Factor.

It's what gives a special work that spark of magic; it's what moves it from something that is very good into something that is enchanted, transcendent, and powerful.

Well, in keeping with the theme of my A-to-Z Blogging Challenge posts, this extraordinary 'X-Factor' is definitely something that I want to incorporate into my writing.

The problem is that I don't think it's possible to consciously do it. The magic either happens or it doesn't.

Unfortunately, in most cases, it doesn't.

But I still want it.

What about you? Do you think there is some elusive, undefinable X-Factor that can give a piece something magical? How do you capture it?

Thanks for visiting -- see you tomorrow and Monday for the final posts in this alphabetical fun!

Don't forget to visit HERE to see all the bloggers taking part in this A-to-Z challenge, and try to drop in on as many of them as you can!


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Yes, I absolutely believe there's an X-factor when it comes to writing, and also when it comes to life in general. One of the other bloggers tackled this same issue today, and she described the X-factor as "serendipity on steroids." Kinda cool, huh? We may not be able to put our fingers on exactly what it IS that makes something sparkle, but we know we want to achieve it.

Tonja said...

I think we can strive to have all the pieces of our story come together, but that doesn't mean it's going to sparkle for every reader.

Nancy Thompson said...

Well, of course I believe in it. I wrote about the X-factor today, too. I wish we knew how to quantify exactly what that is. You just never know what will strike a chord. And it's sometimes very surprising what does. But I also think its that great unknown that makes it all so exciting. If you happen to strike on it yourself, it's golden!

It's weird how in tune you & I have been during this challenge! Great post, Chris!

Simon Kewin said...

Thanks God for that; I thought you wre going to be talking about a certain talent show on TV. As to the X factor in writing, sometimes I guess it just happens, but I'm willing to bet there's a lot of hard work needed most of the time to foster it.

Nicole said...

Nice X choice!

Arlee Bird said...

Yes, that mysterious x-factor. Not as easy as it is in mathematics.

I'm now following your blog. Great job on the Challenge.

Places I Remember
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Kate O'Mara said...

I believe there is a component of awareness that comes when you recognize magic. Of course, large magic isn't what we see most of the time. It's recognizing the magic of a moment and living in it.

The Golden Eagle said...

Another blogger posted about this, only under a different letter. I do think there's a special element that can make a story shine--I'm not positive about the exact way of capturing it, though. :P

The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Li said...

I think the X factor often taps into a sort of universal consciousness. Certain ratios and symmetrical constructs make art and architecture appealing; combinations of sounds and chords in music grab our imagination; and the right phrase in writing can evoke memories and experiences or put a name to deep emotions. There's nothing like that "wow" moment when something hits you viscerally. It's what every artist strives for, but only a small number achieve :-)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, there's absolutely and x factor, something undefineable that tunes our ears, our minds, or our imaginations towards one piece of music or writing over another. Sometimes I think it's personal experiences but then . . . I think it goes beyond that.
Great post!

Christine Rains said...

There is an X-factor and it's hard to capture. It's elusive and subjective. Whatever it is remains different for everyone. I just go with what I love and hope there's other people out there that love it too.

Chris Fries said...

@Susan; “Serendipity on steroids?” I like that! And I agree – I might not be able to fully describe it, but I still want it, LOL!

@Tonja: True. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one.

@Nancy: LOL! Yeah – I guess we just think alike. ;^) And you're right – it's one of those things that if we TRY to capture, we never will.

@Simon: Nope – no TV talent shows here. You're absolutely right – it takes a lot of work and effort to make things seem effortless.

@Nicole: Thanks!

@Arlee: True – in math, it's just algebra, LOL!. Thank you very much for the visit, comment, and the follow! I really appreciate it!

@Katie: I agree, but recognizing magic is somewhat easier than capturing that magic – at least I haven't quite figured out how to do it in my writing yet, lol!

@Eagle: You're right, and if you ever figure out the 'how', please let me know! ;^)

@Li: Wow – great job of putting it into words. Thank you very much!

@Tyrean: Thank you! Great comment!

@Christine: You're right. Trying to chase something undefinable leads to madness. As a writer, I want to be true to myself (Dang – that would have been a great topic for “T” day). Thank you so much for the visit and comment!

Alison Miller said...

Great X-factor post! You're right. We did cover just about the same points.

Chris Fries said...

@Alison: Thank you!