Autodidact: self-taught


Writing Life

by V. L. Craven

‘The Seduction of the Text’ by Francine du Plessix Gray
001. keep your sentences erotic
002. Create a pact of trust
003. Strive for muscle
004. Rebel against the tyranny of genre
005. *Being an admirable reader is the first step towards being a decent writer
006. *We cannot choose fiction—it can only choose us
007. *Read voraciously, keep the reader seduced and never worry about what ‘category’ your texts might fall into.

‘Looking for the Spark’ by Joanna Trollope
-01- The Roman poet Horace once said that the exceptional writer was one who could wield ordinary words so skillfully that , in his hands, the ordinary was made new.
-02- Tolstoy: My task is to chronicle those little daily lacerations of the spirit.

‘The Importance of Childhood’ by Joyce Carol Oates
-01- Her writing  is not effortless…She writes by hand, starting stories countless times, making comments as she goes, often producing as many as 1,000 pages of notes for every 250 printed pages. Belle-fleur (1980), which has been chatarerized as springing from a dream, “took lots of work,” with charts and graphs and heavy engineering…Her novel American Appetites had 3,000 pages of worksheets. You Must Remember This had 3,500 pages of side notes. My Heart Laid Bare, 5,000 pages.
-02- How more accurate to see any artwork as a portal of a kind through which we step, like Alice through the looking-glass, into worlds not our own and unimaginable by us, conjoining ourselves with persons not known to us.
-03- Each book, its cover opened, led miraculously inward and downward, tunneling away from the mere surface of things.
-04- The wish to tell stories predates the stories told.
-05- Tragedy breaks down the dykes between human beings—William Butler Yeats
-06- Is biology destiny? Not for the writer or artist, it isn’t.

‘How to Identify and Nurture Young Writers’ by James Michener
-01- Learn to master the English sentence in all its richness of expression and variation in structure.
-02- Acquire an individualized vocabulary on at least three social levels, including modern street lingo.
-03- Familiarize yourself with the fine books that have already been published so that you can acquire a sense of where fiction or nonfiction is heading.
-04- Use every device in the repertory to get to know people in the publishing business who might be of help later on.
-05- Consider applying to one of the writing programs sponsored by a good university.

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