For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.
Today’s tip – So What’s It All About – This Fiction?
All novels are burdened by the need to make life more interesting than we find it. The means the novelist has to do this are limited, but the reader’s appetite is insatiable. He wants something of interest. He seeks something of value. The writer can only confront him with words. Words and more words.
I hate that feeling when there is a word that I need, an exact word, to describe something that I need to tell about. I can feel the meaning and its mystery bothers me like a bug in my throat. After thesaurusing and googling and tearing my hair out I suddenly realize the word I want is in my mind – but otherwise doesn’t exist.
At that point I have to throw the writing out. There is no way I am going to get past that point. There are only twenty six letters (give or take) anyway – how can anyone be expected to write anything new and interesting with the same twenty six symbols that everybody else has already used – in millions and millions of works before.
The author of today’s quoted work, Wright Morris, wrote one of the most influential books (on me) that I have read – Ceremony at Lone Tree. One reason it was so memorable, unfortunately, is it is the only book I read in school because I had to that I thought was worth the paper it was printed on. Pretty much.