Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

AN EDITOR DRAWS THE WRITER INTO THE LIGHT…

September 28th, 2016

(This is the scene that sets up the insight above. Truly. Perfectly. Genius.) Any writer who believes they don’t need an editor is a fool. I’ve seen the difference. I’ve shaken my head reading well established authors, too good and too arrogant to suffer the critique of an editor, write trash. Colin Firth’s Max Perkins […]

RESEARCH IS EASY, SITTING TO WRITE IS HARD…

September 18th, 2016

I’ve been reading The Guardian’s My Writing Day series for a few week now and, while I think the personal essays are interesting, none has yet spoken to me as has that by Tracy Chevalier. She struck a nerve with her frankness and insight. Chevalier, in Writing is a magic trick that still surprises me […]

YOU CAN’T PAY ATTENTION WHILE TEXTING…

September 11th, 2016

This is, of course, a lesson we continuously attempt to impart–-Stay Alive! Don’t text and drive!—to those navigating a ton of metal and plastic at speed down our streets and highways, but the same can be said about how we now walk through life. I wonder how many budding writers are begin crippled by always […]

MANIPULATORS & DEPICTERS OF MORAL PROBLEMS…

September 1st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. ELLISON: You know, I’m still thinking of your question about the use of Negro experience [How representative of the American nation would you say Negro folklore is?] as material for fiction. One function of serious literature is to deal with the moral core […]

RALPH ELLISON NAILS THE AMERICAN THEME…

August 25th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. INTERVIEWER: Would you say that the search for identity is primarily an American theme? ELLISON: It is the American theme. The nature of our society is such that we are prevented from knowing who we are. It is still a young society, and […]

FROM PURPOSE TO PASSION TO PERCEPTION

August 23rd, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. INTERVIEWER: Did you have everything thought out before you began to write Invisible Man? ELLISON: The symbols and their connections were known to me. I began it with a chart of the three-part division. It was a conceptual frame with most of the […]

THE JOURNEY FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT…

August 22nd, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. INTERVIEWER: Can you give us an example of the use of folklore in your own novel? ELLISON: There are certain themes, symbols, and images which are based on folk material. For example, there is the old saying among Negroes: If you’re black, stay […]

ALL WRITERS ARE A MINORITY OF ONE…

August 21st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison: INTERVIEWER: But isn’t it going to be difficult for the Negro writer to escape provincialism when his literature is concerned with a minority? ELLISON: All novels are about certain minorities: the individual is a minority. The universal in the novel—and isn’t that what […]

INSPIRATION BE DAMNED, PAY FECKIN’ ATTENTION…!

August 5th, 2016

I would say that “Where do you get your ideas from?” is the most frequent question asked of writers, but I’ll give Hilary Mantel her due. The most frequent question writers are asked is some variant on, “Do you write every day, or do you just wait for inspiration to strike?” I want to snarl, […]

EVERY SYMPHONY BEGINS WITH A SINGLE NOTE…

August 1st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: INTERVIEWER: Could you tell us something about your working methods? CARY: Well—I write the big scenes first, that is, the scenes that carry the meaning of the book, the emotional experience. The first scene in Prisoner of Grace was that one at the […]

MY CHARACTERS MUST NOT DODGE THE ISSUES…

July 30th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: INTERVIEWER: Aissa Saved was the first one you published? CARY: Yes, and that was not until I was over forty. I’d written many before, but I was never satisfied with them. They raised political and religious questions I found I could not answer. […]

WANTING V. YEARNING, GENRE V. LITERATURE…

July 26th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: INTERVIEWER: That’s what you meant, then, when you said that what makes men tick should be the main concern of the novelist? The character’s principle of unity? CARY: And action, their beliefs. You’ve got to find out what people believe, what is pushing […]

ON THE NECESSITY FOR SPELLBINDERS AND POETS…

July 21st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: Religion is organized to satisfy and guide the soul—politics does the same thing for the body. Of course they overlap—this is a very rough description. But the politician is responsible for law, for physical security, and in a world of tumult, of perpetual […]

FICTION MUST BE, AFTER ALL, FICTION…

July 16th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 6” with Alberto Moravia: MORAVIA: Yes. But I want it quite clearly understood: my works are not autobiographical in the usual meaning of the word. Perhaps I can put it this way: whatever is autobiographical is so in only a very indirect manner, in a very general […]

SCREW THE LIGHT, WRITERS STEP INTO THE DARK…

July 11th, 2016

Last evening I was able to spend a few precious hours with a shipmate who I hadn’t seen for some 30 years. Our conversation turned to my writing and the struggles I have telling the story I want to tell. I did my best to describe the mental state of writers as I understand the […]

CAPTURING THE IDEAS, THAT IS THE HARD WORK..

July 5th, 2016

Writers get asked “Where do you get your ideas?” all the time. Most attempt to be gracious and imply that such a task is hard grueling work requiring years of mental exercise. Henry James was blunt, and honest.. Asked once when he found time to form the design of a new book, James rolled his […]

YOUR MUSE WANTS TO MAKE HER ENTRANCE…

June 28th, 2016

I need the dark, in much the same Walter Mosley does, but I have no problem seeing the advantage to this particular ritual as well. Moving from the ordinary world into the creative world does require some threshold, some transition. For the morning writing, [Toni Morrison’s ] ritual is to rise around 5:00, make coffee, […]

JOHN SANDFORD WRITES A 404-PAGE MACGUFFIN*…

June 16th, 2016

John Sanford is on my short list of go-to writers, the writers I check monthly for new books. He has been on that list for as long as I’ve had such a list and has outlasted Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Johnathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, James Patterson, Anne Rice and perhaps a dozen or so more […]

HIGH PRAISE INDEED…

May 26th, 2016

Eulogium (p. 56) Uncle Venner’s eulogium, if it appears rather too high-strained for the person and occasion, had, nevertheless, a sense in which it was both subtile and true. Modern eulogy, eulogium, Medieval Latin, from Greek eulogia praise; a commendatory oration, high praise, or writing especially in honor of one deceased . (15th century)igh From […]

FICTION IS AN EXPLORATION OF THE POSSIBLES…

September 14th, 2015

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