As I was browsing through a recent list of inspirational quotes, I found a number I thought worthy of sharing. Perhaps they will inspire others.
For example, the prolific and dynamic Stephen King wrote:
I try to create sympathy for my characters then turn the monsters loose. - Stephen King
Not just obstacles or antagonists or issues and foibles....but monsters? A great inspiration....I have never thought about turning monsters loose in my stories, but why not?
And how often have I struggled to figure out where I'm going in a story, but E. L. Doctorow provides an alternative:
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow
Along with that..... Faulkner says:
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.– William Faulkner
So --- does that mean don't fret? Don't worry so much about trying to make the story "good" before its time? Leave the critical part of the brain on the shelf until later?
And who can resist listening to Mark Twain? Do we speak the truth or are we liars, one and all??? He insists: Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use. – Mark Twain
And Anton Chekov says it beautifully, reminding us that: My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
In other words, the truth comes as we move through the story --- letting that inner voice or muse direct our hand. Mayhap that is why the beginning and end are so often vague or redundant or anti-climactic? Some other worthwhile thoughts include the following:
Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver
I like Kingsolver's remarks: It reminds me that I am not just writing for a "market" or sale. I'm writing to say something -- hopefully something that resonates with the reader, something that is unique or timely or universal.
Ayn Rand wrote: Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.
I agree! It's AS I'm writing that elements of the story become clearer to me: the conflicts or the internal issues my character(s) must overcome seem to percolate as I move through scenes or when I introduce new characters or problems to be solved.
Likewise Conrad makes it clear that:
A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer. – Joseph Conrad
Isn't it through story that much of what we observe about human life and experience comes to the forefront, driving us as writers and driving our characters through their created universe? Perhaps, as Sidney Sheldon wrote: A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God. Does that mean we need be grateful we are not demi-gods in the real world? I think so. We do not have the ANSWERS to life, but we surely must ask the QUESTIONS!
Hemingway also speaks about being a writer and the perception that others may have. I wonder if he spoke "tongue in cheek" when he said:
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
Also speaking to the issue of quality and value of writing, Herman Melville wrote:
To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. – Herman Melville Ray Bradbury spoke about the importance of letting characters have their way. Perhaps a reminder that we cannot always control the direction of our stories or our characters' choices in life! He wrote: First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
Finally, on the issue or necessity of revision, John Irvin writes: Half my life is an act of revision. Hmmmm -- the ugly truth raises its mighty head! REVISION -- the art, the power of it is what makes our stories shine. More reason to leave the critical part of the brain until it's time to begin revising... Well, time for me to return to my sanctuary! But the trip through the mind's eye of great writers really does give me pause and reminds me that writing is more than just a calling...writing well is a craft and requires attention and dedication. Such is my goal. THANKS for stopping by......Leave a comment....I will be awarding one lucky reader a free copy of JULY'S BRIDE, my novella recently released from Prairie Rose.... -------------------------------------- Gail L. Jenner, a past history and English teacher, began writing at age 9. Inspired by so many writers, one of her greatest thrills is having WON a WILLA Award for Best Softcover Fiction from Women Writing the West, for ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS, re-released by Prairie Rose Publications in 2013. For more, visit: www.gailjenner.com OR: http://www.amazon.com/Gail-Fiorini-Jenner/e/B005GHR47O Her newest releases from Prairie Rose include JULY'S BRIDE and JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! She is the author of several stories that have also been included in the PRP anthologies, PRESENT FOR A COWBOY, LASSOING A BRIDE, and COWBOY KISSES. She is the coauthor of 5 regional histories and edited and contributed to ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP, an anthology of Western rural women's stories.