Friday, January 6, 2012

On Writing and Story

I'm going to borrow some words today.

"Borges once claimed that the basic devices of all fantastic literature are only four in number: the work within the work, the contamination of reality by dream, the voyage in time, and the double."
-James E. Irby, introduction of Labyrinths
I take issue with the "only four in number" part, but those structures seem good foundations from which to create a story.

"For in the beginning of literature is the myth, and in the end as well."
-Jorge Luis Borges, "Parable of Cervantes and the Quixote", Labyrinths
Try to reduce a story of yours into terms of myth - reduce not in the sense of diminish, but of boiling away into essentials. I'll go first: "Once upon a time, a powerful sorceress created a land of eternal summer, which you could never leave once you had entered..."

"No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence - that which makes its truth, it's meaning - its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream - alone..."
-character of Marlow, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Reflect on your own sapience one night when you're alone and it seems possible that the rest of the world does not exist.

"Be certain of this: when honest love speaks, when true admiration begins, when excitement rises, when hate curls like smoke, you need never doubt that creativity will stay with you for a lifetime."
-Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Creativity is born of passions. I keep forgetting this.

"You don’t have to believe you will be a success in order to write. You don’t even have to believe that you could be. You just have to believe that you, or someone like you, can sit down with a notebook or at a computer and make up stuff that somebody else might want to read...The so-called “writer’s imagination” starts by imagining oneself as a writer."
-Patricia C. Wrede, Imagination
You, you who are reading this post. You are a writer, and you are capable of great things. Go forth!


  1. Okay, okay, I'm going already! Sheesh.

    Really great quotes. ;D