Saturday, September 22, 2007

More moral support from Jane Smiley

Here are a couple things Jane Smiley says in Thirteen Ways that have helped me keep going:

“You have not been asked or groomed to write a novel. You have not gone to novel-writing school, . . . Chances are, no one wants you to write your novel—if they say they do, they are just meaning that you should get it over with . . . . The people you know actually dread reading the novel you are about to write—they don’t want to read about themselves, they don’t want to be bored, and they fear embarrassment for everyone. You are, therefore, free.

“The Only way to suspend [your own disbelief] is to keep adding sentences to the ones you have
already written. Sheer length persuades, at least to some degree, because it builds and object in the mind.”

“Boredom is only a symptom, and boredom with the material that at first inspired you to write a novel can mean any number of things, but it never means that your material is inherently unintineresting.”

She then goes on to offer several possible diagnoses for the symptom of boredom—not knowing enough about characters, confusion about plot, fear of failure—and some prescriptions to self administer. I strongly recommend reading this section of the book.

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