Stuff worth reading

“The Curious Border Between Fiction and Nonfiction” by Nelli Hermann

It is a natural part of the writing and reading process, to feel curious about the veils of a work of fiction, perhaps because the creation of a book is such a private and solitary process, and in so many ways is simply irretrievable—a writer can so very rarely specify exactly what was going on for him or her when s/he was writing a particular passage or scene. This is part of why the fun of writing and reading never goes away, because you can just never get to the bottom of it.

“The Gift of Research” by Abby Geni

In the end, of course, it is my own story I tell, as all writers do. I discover mine by traveling away from myself. In reaching for the unknown—in that middle realm, somewhere between what I understand and what I have never before imagined—I feel the spark of inspiration begin to glow.

“Terry McMillan: By the Book” (New York Times feature)

Reading a good novel can have the same effect as a self-help book because I gain more insight, empathy and respect for how others not just survive, but thrive, which is empowering.

“On Making Good with your Ghosts” by Erin Rose Belair

My stories come from little obsessions, ghosts that won’t leave me alone… I used to think stories had to come from some higher order, some grand tale. But I only started writing stories when I learned how to make peace with those ghosts, when I learned how to listen to what I was already telling myself.

The vein of strangeness running through you might very well be the best thing about your writing.

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5 Comments

  1. I wonder if it’s always been true that people are so curious about writers and the process of writing (I’m talking about readers — you know, civilians :-) — not other writers).

    I have a hunch that it may have something to do with our current culture where we learn (or think we learn) so much about artists and entertainers, and where writers often become celebrities.

    Did Shakespeare’s audiences spend a lot of time wondering about his creative process?

    • You know, that’s a great question. I think actually there probably always has been a curiosity about the creative process (maybe not writing specifically) just because it’s not something that everyone feels they can tap into. That said, I think you’re onto something with your theory about how modern-day access and “transparency” makes it even more of a fascination.

      • In the 1960s, Marvel Comics (the brash, new, “upstart” company) broke with tradition in the field by promoting the artists and writers (and even the office staff), giving them jazzy nicknames, describing the office setup and the “Marvel method” for producing comic books.

        DC, on the other hand, the “establishment” company, was the opposite. Batman comics had “by Bob Kane” on them for many years after others had taken over the writing and art.

        (Of course, what neither company did, without considerable struggle, was give creators any rights to what they had created. :-) )

  2. As always, you’ve found such inspirational thoughts. I love these and just finished reading Terry McMillan’s latest novel which I very much enjoyed.

    • I’m glad you like them! And good to know, re: her latest. I’m sorry to say that I don’t think I’ve read any of hers… Do you have a favorite?

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