There is no dance without the dancers.

What does this mean to you? How would you explain this saying?

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my creativity exploration, it’s that I need to encourage my brain to come up with new ideas on a daily basis. This could mean something as simple as taking a different route to my destination, but I would like it to more directly influence my writing. How can I get my brain to think more creatively? How can I create a more imaginative story? What will spark those fresh, unique characters? In other words, how can I up my game when it comes to revising my new teen manuscript?

With the digital-age drowning us with information, more than ever, we need to teach our brains to think creatively. Creativity, as it turns out, is not limited to one side of the brain, or one part of the brain. In reality, “Many of these brain regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit structures from both the left and right side of the brain.” Scientific American

Today, when I thought about the saying, There is no dance without the dancers, my mind immediately jumped to the illusive words, refusing to grace me with their presence during this arduous revision process. My version would be something like, There is no novel without the words. Or to be more precise, There is no publishable manuscript, without the best word choices.

In Kenneth Oppel’s book, Every Hidden Thing, it is obvious he is not only a master storyteller, but also a master wordsmith. For example, this is how he describes a girl who is considered  “plain” by most.

“Her eyes were extraordinary, not just for their piercing blue–it was the white and amber markings in her irises, like shooting    stars and the aurora borealis radiating fro the blackness of her pupils.  I felt like I was witnessing the birth of the universe.” Wow.

It’s inspiring to read this teen novel which I find completely delightful. But I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed. Not that I’m competing with Kenneth Oppel, but the thought of upping my game to anywhere close to that level seems totally daunting.

I remind myself, this exploration of the creative life, is about moving forward. It’s about forcing my brain to work at it each day. The destination must not scare me off my course. And I must have faith that the results will be rewarding.

With those  thoughts in mind, I have included an activity to help your brain (and mine) to think beyond the typical. Tip: Your first response will be what you consider to be an obvious interpretation. Make yourself go beyond this to come up with totally different interpretations.


Choose one of the following sayings:

  • There is no dance without the dancers.
  • If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.
  • You’re barking up the wrong tree.
  1. Come up with three different interpretations of the metaphor.
  2. Explain how this particular idiom relates to your life, and give an example from your own life.

Have fun! Oh, and there are no wrong answers!


Published by Lois Donovan

Author of historical time travels, THE JOURNAL and WINDS OF L'ACADIE, Lois is in demand as a speaker/presenter at literary conferences and young writers' conferences and teachers conventions. Lois grew up primarily in Riverview, New Brunswick, but has called Calgary home for many years. Currently, Lois enjoys life in Calgary with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

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