Thursday, June 05, 2008

Some writerly blurbies

Some passages on writing from a few novels featuring girl-writer protagonists:

From Emily Climbs:

"I begin to think the child has an easy way of making a living."

An easy way! Emily overhearing this as she went through the hall, smiled and sighed. What did Aunt Ruth -- what did anyone know of the disappointments and failures of climbers on Alpine Paths? What did she know of the despairs and agonies of one who sees but cannot reach. What did she know of the bitterness of one who conceives a wonderful tale and writes it down only to find a flat and flavorless manuscript as a reward for all her toil? What did she know of barred doors and impregnable editorial sanctums? Of brutal rejection slips and the awfulness of faint praise? Of hopes deferred and hours of sickening doubt and self-distrust?

From Atonement:

(on the budding novelists' discovery of the superiority of fiction over playwriting)

The simplest way to have impressed Leon would have been to write him a story and put it in his hands herself, and watch as he read it. The title lettering, the illustrated cover, the pages bound -- in that word alone she felt the attraction of the neat, limited and controllable form she had left behind when she decided to write a play. A story was direct and simple, allowing nothing to come between herself and her reader -- no intermediaries with their private ambitions or incompetence, no pressures of time, no limits on resources. In a story you only had to wish, you only had to write it down and you could have the world; in a play you had to make do with what was available: no horses, no village streets, no seaside. No curtain. It seemed so obvious now that it was too late: a story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it. . . You saw the word castle and it was there, seen from some distance, with woods in high summer spread before it, the air bluish and soft with smoke rising from the blacksmith's forge, and a cobbled road twisting away into the green shade. . .

Ah, yes to both. Yes, yes. And now I dive into revisions, not to surface for days. I am beginning to feel a little editorial breathing at the back of my neck. Again, my dearest super power wish rises up within me: the power to freeze time. How I wish!!!


meghan said...

hi there - I've just read through the eight posts you've put up since I was last here - your blog is SO FULL when you read it like that! Laini, I love it here!

So I have just added my name to your Emily list. It scares me a lot, but I am looking forward to it! My only tricky bit will be finding her in a bookstore as I have been cut off of Amazon (giggle... I deserved it!)

How's revising going???

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

I love to read about writing...these are both beautiful passages. I to live in the Portland metro area (Hillsboro at Orenco Station) When I see you in Fred Meyers I won't bother you but I will give you a tiny wave. :)
This is a blog I wrote about writing based on what I learned while teaching kindergarten.