It’s something like a person walking toward you through a mist: Every sentence you write about her makes her a little clearer.
quotes for writers
Concentrate your narrative energy on the point of change. This is especially important for historical fiction. When your character is new to a place, or things alter around them, that’s the point to step back and fill in the details of their world. People don’t notice their everyday surroundings and daily routine, so when writers describe them it can sound as if they’re trying too hard to instruct the reader.
All works of fiction are built around a character who yearns, and if you’re in touch with what the character is yearning for, then every detail is filtered through that emotional center.
When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.
Neil Gaiman, “Make Good Art” (read it here)
Q: Looking back, how do you recall your 50-plus years as a writer?
Roth: Exhilaration and groaning. Frustration and freedom. Inspiration and uncertainty. Abundance and emptiness. Blazing forth and muddling through. The day-by-day repertoire of oscillating dualities that any talent withstands — and tremendous solitude, too. And the silence: 50 years in a room silent as the bottom of a pool, eking out, when all went well, my minimum daily allowance of usable prose.
After you finish a book, you know, you’re dead. But no one knows you’re dead. All they see is the irresponsibility that comes in after the terrible responsibility of writing.
Research to me is as important or more important than the writing. It is the foundation upon which the book is built.
Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.