Showing posts from December, 2020

On Writing Part Two: (You’ve Got to be) Ruthless

I remember when I first started writing seriously, I would come across all these articles where writers talked about “honing their craft.” That would immediately trigger an eyeroll and a metaphorical flipping of the page (after all most of these articles appeared online). Now seven years later as I begin work on my fifth novel, I’m rethinking that. I still dislike the term, sounding as it does as if one was practicing sorcery. Though, now I’ve come to realize that when we write, we create something out of nothing, which is kind of a neat conjurer’s trick; you (hopefully) pull gold from straw like a literary alchemist. And sometimes, too, being a writer can feel like you’re playing God playing house. You breathe life into your characters after all and give them companions and adventures. The story itself is the Universe you created for them. The characters are the bones of the story; the plot and the conflicts are the capillaries and veins and arteries. And the words are the skin. T

On Writing (Part One): Self-Discovery

I’ve always thought of my writing as organic, as happening beside and outside of me. I read somewhere where a sculptor (I forget who) praised for his statue insisted that he hadn’t created it, that it had existed inside the stone; he’d merely used his chisel to free it. That’s the way I thought of my writing—I likened it to capturing fireflies in a jar. My characters are a visitation (blessing, or curse, I’m sometimes not sure, especially when they jabber incessantly, distracting me from the task at hand, waking me from my sleep). If they are a visitation, I am but a helpless medium, charged with channeling their spirit energy, their words, while I remain unable to control or direct them, unable to summon them at will—that is at times that suit me when I am ready and able to write. The characters, the words, they are there in the air, I just have to capture and share them. At least, that is what I used to think. Now, I’m not so sure. Of course, it was another who raised this doub