Posts Tagged: craft
Supposedly, the most-common question for a writer is , “Where do you get your ideas?” but in my experience, it is actually, “Do you outline?” I don’t outline, but I do fill notebooks with scribbled thoughts about where the story is and where it should be, and over the years I’ve realized that these pages inevitably take the form of a hybrid between potential plot moves and an editorial note on the existing material, as if I’m offering feedback on a student’s manuscript, or another writer’s work, rather than my own.
Keep a close eye on your Twitter account. Important things may be said there that you will be expected to weigh in on, and if you don’t, everyone will wonder if you fell asleep in the bathroom stall of the bar last night and are still there, head sunken low next to the toilet, one lost contact lens embedded somewhere in the floor grime.
Considering the other forces vying to demarcate our time, dividing it up between mass shootings and other traumas, to encounter a packed bookshelf, a library, or a bookstore with a breathtaking procession of spines and all the potential therein—it is a relief to know that time can also look like that, that it could contain so many ways out, over, and through with those stories.
For those who start within the establishment, professional writing is likely to correspond to drudgery, and they’ll seek to escape it. For those on the outside looking in, it’s a mark of legitimacy.
The reasons behind why writers write is arguably broken into two camps: for art and as a profession....more
The writing advice I give is this:
1) Sit down
These wise and talented writers have more to say....more
For Electric Literature, novelist Noy Holland explores what it means to label (and often dismiss) writing as “experimental.” Holland notes the subjectivity and mess inherent in language and form, and why writing that aims for clarity might sacrifice authenticity in the process:
Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake — not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.
At ZYZZYVA, Christian Kiefer talks with novelist Scott Hutchins and playwright Octavio Solis about learning and developing as writers, the difference between writing plays and writing novels, and writing as a craft:
It’s an art. There’s alchemy in the process by which we go from a blank page to something that has its own reality.
I didn’t pay a hell of a lot of attention to grammar, and when I write it is for the love of the word, the color, like tossing paint on a canvas, and using a lot of ear and having read a bit here and there, I generally come out ok, but technically I don’t know what’s happening, nor do I care.