Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Pushing the edges

I got some really good advice, years ago. A Hemingway scholar I used to know told me, "write hard. Then, when you rewrite, write even harder. Make the words as true and powerful as you possibly can." That's actually a more or less fictionalized paraphrase--but it captures the essential gist.

Now, this is easier said than done, of course.

It seems a fine line: manipulate your reader, without letting on--because as soon as the reader feels manipulated, you've blown it; write in a manner both true and unflinching, without sacrificing tension and subtleties.

Oh, and write about something that lots of people care about--or if you're really good, make them care about something they didn't realize was so important. Find something that sets up that odd, aching, harmonic overtone inside the reader--without letting your words or your story slip away into cliches.

While we're at it, stand on one leg on the tip of a chimney in a high wind and recite The Odyssey backwards while knitting a sweater.

Just kidding. Mostly.

*note: I like this template quite a lot, but the white letters on the dark blue field have to go. I'll be mucking about with it for the next few days, and since I really don't know what I'm doing, the whole thing might well vanish completely. If that happens, my apologies in advance. I also rather like the courier font--but I'm afraid it isn't the easiest thing to read on the screen. So I expect I'll be experimenting with that, as well.


Anonymous said...

Were you trying to say that writing is difficult???? -L

Mac said...

just whining, mostly. heh.

Ray Wong said...

So when can I read your first novel. In full. Huh, huh?