Finally

January 30, 2018

The word Love means someone takes you
in your old clothes, your face too bare, too open,
when someone fastens the buttons on your coat
as if you’ve fallen back through sixty years to be
a child again, when someone takes you onto the path
holding you by the arm, your feet not knowing what
they used to know, your feet in rubber boots stumbling,
blind to roots and stones, when someone takes you
to the ocean, the water also in the air raining down
its saltless weeping, the word Love means someone
takes you to the rocks, rain too heavy for the gulls
to fly, three bobbing like windless boats, all sails
and heartbeats, Love leaves you there, no words
for it now, you and the gulls and the ocean
that moves as far away from you as it can go.

Lorna Crozier

essential detail

January 30, 2018

books1

When in doubt, cut

One of my mentors in grad school was famous for dispensing pretty much just one stock phrase in the margins of stories: could cut.

All told, this guy’s students probably learn as much from him as they do from anyone.

That’s because beginning writers tend to be verbose. We can’t tell the difference between an essential detail and an inessential one. We’re like golden retrievers romping through Storyland, and pretty much every damn thing we see is a squirrel.

But push this advice too far, and again, you’ll get stuck writing mediocre fiction. Because sometimes the things that don’t work are actually important. They don’t work not because they’re the wrong things, but because they’re the hard, ambitious, at-the-very-edge-of-what-you-even-know-how-to-say-things, and the only way to land them is to dig deeper, work harder, and sometimes even (god help you) add rather than cut.

Susan Defreitas
The Ten Worst Pieces of Writing Advice You Will Ever Hear (and Probably Already Have)

endings…

January 30, 2018

Why should a novel seek for a tidy closure? Novels are inherently rather messy. They use time very differently from drama. Beginning-middle-end isn’t obligatory. They can wander through a whole lifetime, or follow a great circle like Lord of the Rings, or go right on from what seemed a closure (as happened with Earthsea — my mistake!) I have nothing against endings, but I do write in a form that doesn’t take them too seriously.

Ursula K Le Guin
Interview with Lev Grossman

The hardest part with these memoirs is the effort to be honest – there is too great a divergence between my relatively unstained thinking, ideas and emotions, and my real treason, flight and the squalid, cowardly and ugly things I did to people in moments of panic or rage.

Robin Cook (Derek Raymond)
The Hidden Files

love with claws and teeth

January 30, 2018

Girls love each other like animals. There is something ferocious and unself-conscious about it. We don’t guard ourselves like we do with boys. No one trains us to shield our hearts from each other. With girls, it’s total vulnerability from the beginning. Our skin is bare and soft. We love with claws and teeth and the blood is just proof of how much. It’s feral.

And it’s relentless.

Leah Raeder
Black Iris

try my hand at a novel

January 30, 2018

EMILIA DZIUBAK

I was always into horror when I was a kid – the old American International pictures, the big-bug movies, then the Hammer stuff. And of course the books, Dracula and Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, Shirley Jackson’s novels, and the great pulp writers like Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, and Richard Matheson. I even briefly liked Lovecraft, though I find him utterly unreadable now. When I decided that I wanted to get out of writing for magazines try my hand at a novel, King and Straub and a number of other really fine writers were already well into their stride and I was reading them a lot, and the movies had become a lot edgier and in-your-face, with stuff like The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the like, and I thought it was a very exciting period to be writing horror. So it was natural that I gravitate there with my first one, Off Season.

Jack Ketchum
Interview with Rob Hart for Litreactor, 27th April 2012