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Congratulations! How I can relate to your fiction writing experience. I am writing a simple letter of recommendation for a fabulous teacher, but shepherding the words to express the depths of her contributions is a lot harder than I had expected. It's back to the mines for me tomorrow. Gotta hand it in mid week.....I hope it turns out half as well as it sounds your writing did....


Have you read much Madeline L'Engle? Or Lucy Maud Montgomery?

I would recommend A Circle of Quiet by Madeline - this is a sort of autobiography - she writes all about her frustration with writing and all the half novels she has thrown away and how depressed she was when no one would publish A Wrinkle in Time, which, as everyone knows, is one of the most fresh and intriguing novel ever. She will tell you how when she finally did get it published, the publisher added, "It was a dark and stormy night" as the first sentence, instead of allowing her readers to figure it out for themselves as she intended. She is absolutely amazing.

L.M Montgomery is obviously best known for Anne of Green Gables, but I think you should check out Emily, another one of her heroines. Maybe you have read the emily books already, but she is the writer in the way Anne never could be. Emily has to write. There are three Emily books - Emily of New Moon, Emily's Quest, and Emily Climbs. Emily has a great teacher who is full of insight into being a writer. My other favorite - The Blue Castle, has a lot of excerpts from a fictional series of nature books - and shows Montgomery writing what she feels and sees about the world around her - and is such an amazing story.

The Happy Feminist

What a great post. I can't tell you how great it is to hear that other people go through these types of experiences too. If I am ever working on a project that is really important to me (usually in the legal context) and I get stuck, I go through a really similar cycle of avoidance and overeating and rushing and slinking. Yech. I have to come to accept it all the unpleasantness as part of the "process" of getting unstuck, but I wish there were a better way.

Notorious BLT

I come to your blog because I enjoy your writing. You have things to say and have a great way of saying them.

My overly simplified solution for your fiction dilemmas is to write more like your blog...

To me, expression is worth more than the properly constructed paragraph. Intensity, interest and reflection are worth more than complicated plot twists and all that set-up the reader stuff.

It's all important stuff and it will come with learning the craft, but I hope you don't forget your voice in the process.

It makes me think of musicians who listen to very different music than they perform. Your voice has it's own character and all benefit when you let it ring out in your own way.

Notorious BLT

What's the password to the supersecret blog?



Yay, another LMM fan! I really want someone to make a movie of The Blue Castle. I honestly get flashes of how it would look when I re-read the book, especially how Valency post-bob would look a little like Amelie.


You ask:

"How did the authors move their characters from one scene to the next so deftly? How do they jump back and forth in time, between exposition and scene? I think of the awkward places, my character standing in the doorway, how hard it is for me to get him out to the beach. How hard it was to get him from the car to the house."

The thing of writing fiction is that you can't make your characters do these things. They have to want to do it. When I start a piece, it always feels stitled because I have to fight the characters, but then I always hit this great moment when they come to life. At that point, I follow them, I don't direct them.

That's how it works for me anyway.

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