Monday, September 3, 2012

Writing is hard, and this is why

I read Nathan Bransford's blog on fairly regular basis. I think I stumbled upon it while reading The Writer magazine, and an author said one of the things that helped her get published was reading his blog (presumably, she meant, reading his blog and using his suggestions, and possibly even striking up a friendship with him, but whatever). So this one stuck out to me, in particular.

And I also liked the article it was based on,

I especially liked this observation. The emphasis is mine (and sorry that it's such a long quote. I just couldn't figure out where to cut it and keep the meaning):

Something, obviously, is going on. I manage, every few years, to generate a book. And of course, there are things that I know. I know how to wait until the last minute before putting anything on paper. I mean the last minute before the thought leaves me forever. I know how to leave out anything that looks to me—after a while—forced, deliberate, or fake. I know that I need to put myself in the story. I don’t mean literally. I mean emotionally. I need to care about what I’m writing—whether about the characters, or about what they’re getting up to, or about the way they feel or experience their world. I know that my job is to create a perspective. And to impose it on the reader. And I know that in order to do that with any success at all I must in some mysterious way risk everything. If I don’t break my own heart in the writing of a book then I know I've done it wrong. I’m not entirely sure what that means. But I know what it feels like.

I also like this, because I hate to do research. When I do research, I want to find one answer to my question. Not "about 128,000 in .32 seconds":

Research is its own slow fiction, a process of reassurance for the author. I don’t want reassurance. I like writing out of confusion, panic, a sense of everything being perilously close to collapse. So I try to embrace the fiction of all things.

I think that might be all I wanted to say about this. I read the blog and article a while ago, and I'm no longer feeling very ranty about it.

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