One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 137 – 140

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A few more shots in the arm from published writers on process and making fiction, and a life.

137).  The only story that seems worth writing is a cry, a shot, a scream. A story should break the reader’s heart.   (Susan Sontag)

138).  Keep human.  See places, go places, drink if you feel like it. Don’t be a draught horse! Work with pleasure only.  (Henry Miller)

139).  Language is lazy, it wants to revert to what’s obvious, to what’s been said before, to short cuts to seeing (blue sky, torrential rain, a kindly old lady, and so on). The writer is pushing back against that inertia in expression all the time, refusing the package of familiar associations that offers itself, refusing the comfort of easy moralising, refusing the well-worn perspective.  (Tessa Hadley)

140).  You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.  (Joseph Campbell)

3 responses to “One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 137 – 140

  1. Thanks Kaite, Susan Sontag ‘On Photography’ was a really important book for me, I read it back when I was 16. I’ve taken photographs ever since. I think I was younger when I read Miller’s ‘Tropic of Cancer’, but I still have it. I must read it again. Joseph Campbell is so right about that one hour of creative incubation. I wish it happened every day. At least it happens sometimes, I’m grateful for that, and I get a lot from it. Tessa Hadley… she’s confusing me a little bit. My language might be a bit lazy. But can language cause ‘easy moralising’? Hmm. I’ll have to sleep on that.

    I hope all is well with you! I’m well, and sweating over a PhD application. I should probably get some sleep. Have a great year! Gus

    • Wonderful to hear from you Gus, and I’m delighted you took a glimpse at this blog. Thank you for sharing with me your connection with the writers I quoted. This blog is one of the few places where I’ve been able to indulge in one of my favourite activities – ‘talking’ about books, the writers, how they made me think or perceive differently. Thank you for adding to that.
      I’m a hoarder of quotations – from interviews, articles, etc – and I select informed by the theory that if one doesn’t strike me as apt or inspirational, it may make me reflect or think about how I write – which is exactly what you describe, above…
      Good luck with the PhD application! I’d love to know more. And please let me know when you;re next exhibiting. Take care dear Gus, Kaite x

  2. Efrosini Mastrokalou

      Caitlin: thanks so much for the writers archive – this is a treasure! There is so much in there!! Many many thanks for this! I have been obsessed with writers’ interviews since I don’t remember when …  I wanted to tell you the other but I forgot. love- Effrosyni      

    Απο: kaiteoreilly Προς: efromast25@yahoo.gr Στάλθηκε: 12:50 π.μ. Τρίτη, 15 Ιανουαρίου 2013 Θέμα: [New post] One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 137 – 140

    Kaite O’Reilly posted: ” . . . . . . . . . A few more shots in the arm from published writers on process and making fiction, and a life. 137).  The only story that seems worth writing is a cry, a shot, a scream. A story should break the reader—

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