I ran across an excerpt today (in English translation) of some dialogue/narration from the modern popular writer, Paulo Coelho in his book: Aleph.(Note: bracketed text is mine.)... 'I spoke to three scholars,' [the character says 'at last.'] ...two of them said that, after death, the [sic (misprint, fault of the publisher)] just go to Paradise. The third one, though, told me to consult some verses from the Koran. [end quote]' ...I can see that he's excited. [narrator]' ...Now I have many positive things to say about Coelho: He is respectable, inspiring as a man, a truth-seeker, and an appealing writer; but one should hesitate to call him a 'literary' writer based on this quote. A 'literary' author knows that a character's excitement should be 'shown' in his or her dialogue and not in the narrator's commentary on it. Advice for Coelho: Remove the 'I can see that he's excited' sentence and show his excitement in the phrasing of his quote.(Now, in defense of Coelho, I am firmly of the opinion, having myself written plenty of prose that is flawed, that a novelist should be forgiven for slipping here and there.)Lastly, it appears that a belief in reincarnation is of great interest to Mr. Coelho ... Just think! He is a man who has achieved, (as Leonard Cohen would call it), 'a remote human possibility.' He has won lots of fame and tons of money. And yet, how his preoccupation with reincarnation—none other than an interest in being born again as somebody else—suggests that he is not happy!
The calling of an author is more than just to entertain, but also to share ones experiences with the world.
The Author To Her BookThou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,Who after birth did'st by my side remain,Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,Who thee abroad exposed to public view,Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).At thy return my blushing was not small,My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.I cast thee by as one unfit for light,The visage was so irksome in my sight,Yet being mine own, at length affection wouldThy blemishes amend, if so I could.I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet.In better dress to trim thee was my mind,But nought save home-spun cloth, i' th' house I find.In this array, 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam.In critic's hands, beware thou dost not come,And take thy way where yet thou art not known.If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none;And for thy mother, she alas is poor,Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.
The birth of a true poet is neither an insignificant event nor an easy delivery. Complications generally begin long before the fated soul carries its dubious light into whatever womb has been kind enough to volunteer the intricate machinery of its blood and prayers and muscles for a gestation period much longer than nine months or even nine years.
When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.
Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.
You have what I can afford to give. You are a panhandler, begging for anything, and I am the man walking briskly by, tossing a quarter or so into your paper cup. I can afford to give you this. This does not break me.
I held out my book. It was precious to me, as were all the things I'd written; even where I despised their inadequacy there was not one I would disown. Each tore its way from my entrails. Each had shortened my life, killed me with its own special little death.
Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope—and the fear, because the encounter may also be embarrassing—that I shall draw a letter that begins, 'Dear Mr. Hitchens, it seems that you are unaware that…' It is in this sense that authorship is collaborative with 'the reader.' And there's no help for it: you only find out what you ought to have known by pretending to know at least some of it already.It doesn't matter how obscure or arcane or esoteric your place of publication may be: some sweet law ensures that the person who should be scrutinizing your work eventually does do so.
We do not wait for inspiration. We work because we've jolly well got to. But when all is said and done, we toil at this particular job because it's turned out to be our particular job, and in a weird sort of way I suppose we may be said to like it.
He showed, in a few words, that it is not sufficient to throw together a few incidents that are to be met with in every romance, and that to dazzle the spectator the thought should be new, without being farfetched; frequently sublime, but always natural; the author should have a thorough knowledge of the human heart and make it speak properly; he should be a complete poet, without showing an affectation of it in any of the characters of his piece; he should be a perfect master of his language, speak it with all its pruity and with the utmost harmony, and yet so as not to make the sense a slave to the rhyme. Whoever, added he, neglects any one of these rules, though he may write two or three tragedies with tolerable success, will never be reckoned in the number of good authors.
A book can never be anything more than the impress of its author's thoughts; and the value of these will lie either in the matter about which he has thought, or in the form which his thoughts take, in other words, what it is that he has thought about it.
Why do you want to become an author? I will accept only one answer. If it is because you feel you can write better than you can do anything else then go ahead and do it without frills and flourishes. Stick to your present job and write in your spare time: but do it as if it is a whole time job.
If there's a will, there's a way!I feel larger than LIFE--and look up to the stars who shine down on me and have become my own personal cheerleaders....as my fingers tap on my computer late into the night..
[Y]ou cannot mention everything in its proper place, you must choose, between the things not worth mentioning and those and those even less so.
A writer may not know the way at first; but if he endeavors to complete his task, he carves a path with his story, a knowledge shortcut.
All Authors come from the unified countrynent known as Australia. Authors live in the future where love is external.
In my opinion, the author-level metric can distort a real author's citation impact. For example, an author who has an h-index = 2 obtained on the basis of two published papers of which each is cited twenty times is more influential than an author who has an h-index = 3 obtained on the basis of three published papers of which each is cited three times.
Just aiming a speely input device, or a Farspark chambre, or whatever you call it... a speelycaptor... at something doesn't collect what is meaningful to me. I need someone to gather it in with all their senses, mix it round in their head, and make it over into words.
In the end, what makes a book valuable is not the paper it’s printed on, but the thousands of hours of work by dozens of people who are dedicated to creating the best possible reading experience for you.
You shouldn't write about your personal life', says the one feeling threatened by the truth to the writer.
I find it quite intriguing that the one observing me as different, immediately assumes that there's something wrong with me, but never, not even for one instant, questions the possibility of the opposite. It's truly amazing that the ones with more certainties, the most arrogant and the most selfish, are indeed the most stupid inside society. They are so dumb and ignorant that they can't see a writer in front of their nose. And the more the writer types, talks and thinks, the more they think that this separation, this difference, grants them some form of superiority. Indeed, the light pushes demons into hell. The brighter your light, the faster you differentiate others. The way of the light was never meant for the weak, which are a majority. And this majority will always ignore the light, as demons fearing and hating angels. And so, it's interesting that without artists God would not have a way to reach the world. And yet, without the ignorant, Satan wouldn't have a way to stop God.
And if I'm guilty of having gratuitous sex, then I'm also guilty of having gratuitous violence, and gratuitous feasting, and gratuitous description of clothes, and gratuitous heraldry, because very little of this is necessary to advance the plot. But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.A novel for me is an immersive experience where I feel as if I have lived it and that I've tasted the food and experienced the sex and experienced the terror of battle. So I want all of the detail, all of the sensory things—whether it's a good experience, or a bad experience, I want to put the reader through it. To that mind, detail is necessary, showing not telling is necessary, and nothing is gratuitous.
Novel-writing has in one respect an affinity to the drama—that time and distance are required to soften for use the harsher features that may be exhibited from real life; that it was almost impossible to bring forward events without touching on their causes; and that any tendency to political discussion, however liberal or applicable, was not to be tolerated in a sort of work which people took up with no other design than to be amused at the least possible expence of thought.
One picks one's way about through the glass and aluminum doors, the receptionists' smiles, the lunches with too much alcohol, the openings with more, the mobs of people desperately trying to define good taste in such loud voices one can hardly hear oneself giggle, while the shebang is lit by flashes and flares through the paint-stained window, glimmers under the police-locked door, or, if one is taking a rare walk outside that day, by a light suffusing the whole sky, complex as the northern aurora.
Creative work is often driven by pain. It may be that if you don't have something in the back of your head driving you nuts, you may not do anything. It's not a good arrangement. If I were God, I wouldn't have done it tha
After the third [San Miguel], I am likely to announce that all writing is fantasy anyway: that to set any event down in print is immediately to begin to lie about it, thank goodness; and that it's no less absurd and presumptuous to try on the skin of a bank teller than that of a Bigfoot or a dragon.
To lead and live the life of your dream, you must arise and be in-charge of the authorship of your own destiny.
Turn your thoughts to novel writing—narrative, let it be about what it will, is read, because the mind quietly acquiesces, and it requires no trouble to think about it. On your part it will demand much less care in the composition. Never mind improbabilities—put together a sufficient number of facts—the more unlikely the better. If you are too idle to choose the trouble of inventing, collect eight or nine of the most popular works of that sort; take a piece of one, and a piece of another, and put them together, only a little altered, just to disguise them: never mind whether what the painters call keeping, can in this motley assemblage be attended to; nobody thinks about that: sprinkle the whole plentifully with horrors of some sort or other, to stimulate the languid attention, and you will have a certainty of a sale at least among the circulating libraries, which, after all, is the principal sale that can be expected; for who buy novels?—Who indeed buy books at all in these times?
I am not covetous, but as ambitious as ever any of my sex was, is, or can be; which makes, that though I cannot be Henry the Fifth, or Charles the Second, yet I endeavour to be Margaret the First; and although I have neither power, time, not occasion to conquer the world as Alexander and Caesar did; yet rather than not be mistress of one, since Fortune and Fates would give me none, I have made a world of my own; for which nobody, I hope, will blame me, since it is in everyone's power to do the like.
Who can say they saw a whole play or read a whole book? Each has their own experience, their own play, their own book
I grow more and more intrigued by this as I write: how words, even the most carefully chosen, can mean such different things from one person to another, so that others might think about what I write in ways I did not intend at all.
Only mothers will ever know the true struggle and sacrifice it takes to create life. Authors come in at a close second.
I could doubt the value of my books as much as many do, except that, as a researcher and very curious person, I do read a lot too, and can clearly see the difference in value between what I do and what others do. I have no doubt that my books have much more value than nearly all others out there, and it wouldn't make sense for me to be an author if I couldn't see that, or if I saw the opposite, as I believe that, if we're not upgrading mankind, we're just making it lost and vulnerable to the claws of ignorance.