Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Sarah Monette knows about writing

Reading this in Storytellers Unplugged, I thought it was too good to not share.


What do I know about writing?

I know that it’s hard.

I know that if it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun.

I know that learn by doing is the only game in town.

I know that the only way out is through. And there aren’t any shortcuts. Anything you think is a shortcut is just going to get you in worse trouble.

I know that most of the cliches of writing advice–write what you know, omit needless words–work better as koans, as meditations, than they do as advice.

I know that fiction is all lies.

I know that you have to tell your lies as if they were truth. Lots of circumstantial evidence and telling details. And conviction.

I know that in the end, it turns out that those lies are all there to point the way toward the truth. Or a truth. Or some truth. If we could just tell the truth straight out, it would save a lot of time.

But on the other hand, telling lies is fun.

I know that even now, when there isn’t so much as a drop of creativity left in me, I’d rather be writing than not.

I know that my creativity will come back–it’s like stalactite formation: slow but inexorable–and that pretty soon the whole gaudy gruesome carousel will start up again.

I know that writing never stops challenging me. And if it ever does, I’ll know I’m doing something wrong.

And I know, even when I hate it as sometimes I do, that writing is the best damn job in the world

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