Continued from Tuesday's post, here are five more of my favorite insights from Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft.
But first, have you ever seen the oh-so-scrumptious movie Chocolat? Since it takes place during Lent, I always watch it around Easter and I finally watched it last night. Of course I eat chocolate during the beginning (middle and end) of it. When the mayor devours Vianne’s window display is my favorite part, probably the greatest scene ever filmed in cinema’s history. (Chocolate lovers understand!) If I were an actress in a scene like that, I would purposely sneeze or something so I could film it over and over and over!
Anyway, on to the five quotes I promised!
“Fiction is the art form of human yearning. That is absolutely essential to any work of fictional narrative art–a character who yearns. And that is not the same as a character who simply has problems. . . . The yearning is also the thing that generates what we call plot, because the elements of plot come from thwarted or blocked or challenged attempts to fulfill that yearning.”
~Robert Olen Butler
On Point of View
“There should be the illusion that it’s the character’s point of view, when in fact it isn’t; it’s really the narrator who is there but who doesn’t make herself . . . known in that role. . . . What I really want is that intimacy in which the reader is under the impression that he isn’t really reading this; that he is participating in it as he goes along.”
“The truer the symbol, the deeper it leads you, the more meaning it opens up.”
“When we dream we make connections that astound us later. . . . The same thing happens on the page when we forget ourselves and as it were, watch our own waking dream. . . . Later we can make sense of what we’ve created and craft it accordingly. That’s when we appreciate the poetry of our unconscious mind.”
“. . .The first impulse in writing is to flood it out, let as much run freely as you possibly can. Then to take a walk or go to the bank . . . and come back in a day or six months later. To read it with a cold eye and say, ‘This is good. This is not. That sentence works. This is magical. This is crummy.’ You have to maintain your critical sensibility and not just assume, because it was an extraordinary dream for you, that it will be a dream for other people. Because people need maps to your dreams.”
Share with me!
What are your thoughts on these writers’ insights? Agree? Disagree? Do you use any of these techniques?