Three from the inestimable 3 Quarks:
Evolving Thoughts science blog : Basic concepts : A List
If a non-scientist mostly reading fiction but wanting some science, then this might be the place to start.
The Uncashed Metaphor of Natural Selection
Long essay by Justin E.H. Smith
How Daphne du Maurier wrote Rebecca Telegraph 19 April 2008
From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.
Groucho Marx, on S.J. Perlman’s first book
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
Having paraphrased the Raymond Chandler quote about almost writers, which does exist somewhere, and later ogling for it without success, came across this page by Mark Coggins – himself a private dick novelist – about a visit he made to the Bodleian Library to look at Chandler’s papers. Good stuff.
I can’t understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.
There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself.
Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.
A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it, you can’t expect an apostle to peer out.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer.
The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Advice is like manure. You need to use it sparingly and consider the source.”
— Dolores Feldon
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
– Pablo Picasso
At first I thought I was going to be irritated by lists of how to do it. Now I see there are lots of quotes and references to other writers, I’m much happier. And, yes, just a moment ago I saw the name Raymond Chandler on one page. So, hopefully, there’s going to be that quote (paraphrased here by me as): “There’s nothing quite so sad as an almost writer.” Something like that. Well, no, probably not: Tim’s trying to encourage writing not put us off for good.
The writer with the most impressive work ethic was probably Anthony Trollope, a contemporary of Dickens’ who is one of my favorite novelists in the world. Trollope wrote by the clock day in and day out, wherever in the world he was. He set up that clock and wrote at home, in hotels, at his club, on the road, in his cabin on ships, and for all I know, while he was visiting America, on a stage coach. When the time was up, he quit. Here’s the part that got my attention. If he had, say, eleven minutes left on the clock, and he had just finished a novel, he didn’t sit back and enjoy a celebratory cup of tea – he started a new novel. Eleven minutes later, he quit for the day. (By the way, Trollope wrote some 45 novels.)
I was wondering whether to leave the parenthesis at the end out.
Stephanie at So many Books has been using DailyLit, which I only heard of through her. Several of her readers say they prefer a book in the hand, mostly because the instalment was too short: they just couldn’t wait!
I decided to go for Anna Karenina. But when the confirmatory email came through, I got the option to order the first episode straight away, which I felt compelled to do. Though the intro to AK is so often quoted
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way
I forgot how funny the first few paragraphs were.
Experiencing such a small dose of Tolstoy it is obviously not going to suit many ardent readers. But there is something to be said for having to wait. Let the small, enjoyable dollop stew for 24 hours. Build up the anticipation for the next part. Spend some time reading around the book and author while waiting. In any case you read so much about so many things, the next episode will be there before you know it. (Actually, in advanced settings you can chose from three size settings to get more per email or even get the next episode straight away…). Let’s face it, this is for people who are meant to be working, trawling through the emails first thing in the morning.
For an inexperienced writer puzzling over which narrative voice to use, the first part of Anna Karenina could be as a reminder to how an intimate tone can created from the limited omniscient point of view. No need to be Tolstoy to see setting off in the first person can end up with too much of the author in the narrator.
I mentioned alter ego in the last post. There has been a study of avatars and their authors in gaming, called Alter Ego, which may have something to offer to the perennial questions about the author insinuating himself/herself in his/her own fiction.
Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli.
The fate of books depends on the discernment of the reader.
- Terentius Maurus, De Literis, Syllabis et Metris (1286)
The task had been to find something to explain simply Barthes’s, “To Write: An Intransitive Verb?”. There was nothing I could understand much of. The surf came to a natural end with an essay, A Blueprint for Melville’s “Bartleby”, by Steven C. Scheer – not what I was looking for but clearly written, not full of jargon, interesting and informative: a serependipity – arrived on my screen because he cites Barthes’s essay at the bottom of the page, which in turn led me to his home site and two nice long essays, The Art of Reading, from which the quote above came, and A Writer’s Notes on Writing.
He has a blogspot, Words Matter, which he has written occasionally to, but there are several very interesting posts, including one on Hellen Keller.