the secret of composition



I don't see the point of telling people how to write stories. That's like telling them how to be themselves. I can imagine Jack Kerouac let words roll wild and windburned out of him; Jane Austen, on the other hand, weighed and polished each one before laying it down.

As for me (although I am lesser than those two) words are out of the question. It's more like each syllable draws me a tiny bit closer to touching the beautiful, sensitive skin of the story. And the story, in response, leans away or leans closer. In this way I slowly, carefully, clothe it in sound.


2 comments:

  1. How refreshing to read something like this. So many people think they should learn how to write but to those who can write, it comes naturally.

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    1. Well, yes and no. How you write is definitely something which must come from your individual relationship with story and with creativity. But I don't think writing as a skill necessarily comes naturally. The fundamentals of it - understanding how sentences work, how to form your own voice, how to create momentum, etc - do need to be learned and mastered if you want to have a quality product. Most writers will tell you how to do that - read mindfully, and write carefully, and grow your understanding through the mentorship of the great authors (usually the classicists). But that is different from what I was saying in my post of course. Once you have mastered language and storytelling, your process should be entirely up to you.

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