Monday, December 11, 2006

In Awe

Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways. — H. Jackson Brown, Jr

I spent much of yesterday's free time reading more of "Writing the Breakout Novel". Sure, there were other things I wanted to do -- I once again had time alone (ain't life grand), as my husband and my mother were off of the Magical Mystery Tour (aka DH needed help shopping for me for Christmas) and my daughter was at her aunt's house cutting paper snowflakes (that we now need to hang in our windows).

I kept a notepad beside me as I read to record either insightful words that The Donald said or story ideas that popped into my head as I read.

I love some of Mr. Maass's words:

If you do not have a moment of unexpected tragedy or grace in your novel, consider where you might put it in.

Marshalling detail and learning the art of writing in nouns and verbs are essential to success in any type of writing.

For anyone's life to be worth saving (in fiction) it needs added value.

Now these may not seem terribly profound to you, but they hit home to me. But possibly the most amazing thing he wrote was this:

A key question to ask yourself is this: Why am I writing this novel? A second necessary question is the following: If I stopped writing this novel, why would that matter? ... High stakes ultimately come from your own high commitment, either to moral truth or to truth in the telling of your tale... it does not matter which purpose motivates you. I matters only that you have a purpose.


Let's all take a moment of silence in awe of simple ideas that are amazingly profound.


anno said...

If I stopped writing this novel, why would that matter?

Now there is a great question. Count me "in awe."

Charity said...

This is what I love about Maass so much. He’s all about pushing the envelope, both what fiction can do and what you can do as a writer. He’s permissive, not restrictive. I really got a lot out of my 2006 Maass program and I’m extending it into 2007. Wanna join me?