I’ve always said there are – to oversimplify it – two kinds of writers. There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener. In my Hollywood years when everything does work on outlines, I had to put on my architect’s clothes and pretend to be an architect. But my natural inclinations, the way I work, is to give my characters the head and to follow them.
That being said, I do know where I’m going. I do have the broad outlines of the story worked out in my head, but that’s not to say I know all the small details and every twist and turn in the road that will get me there.
A conversation with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. Pair with Susan Sontag on the 4 people a great writer must be, then wash down with the collected wisdom of great writers on writing.
Italo Calvino on writing – timeless wisdom culled from 40+ years of his freshly published letters.
We must strike down the insidious lie that a book is the creation of an individual soul labouring in isolation. We must strike it down because it threatens the overall quality and breadth of American literature.
I’m in the book business, the idea-sharing, consciousness-expanding, storytelling business,” said the novelist. “And I am not going to get out of that business. So fuck Ayn Rand and fuck any company that profits from peddling the lie of mere individualism. We built this together and we’re going to keep building it together.
2. The moron
3. The stylist
4. The critic
Don’t let fear of writing something imperfect or wrong keep you from doing it. It’s key to publish, get feedback, and keep going.
And if you want to write criticism or commentary, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or evolve publicly. Vulnerability is a vaccine.
If you’re trying to break in, read everything and everyone on your subject. If you’re a day late on an old idea, you’re not of any use.
The best ideas have no expiration date and what makes them compelling is the particular point of view. Conflating good writing with newsiness is one of the most unfortunate byproducts of writing for a chronology-biased medium like the web.