Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
– WILLIAM STRUNK, JR. and E.B. WHITE
I’m finding it hard to write fiction when the future of the whole world is so uncertain.The Syria thing, the corruption thing, the election thing… all the result of games by madmen. Real life madmen, power brokers whose currency is world policies and who drag in their wake the lives of billions. Quite distracting. Like my moral sensors are bleating an incessant warning. “Do something”, they say. “We need to save the world from the madness.”
I wonder how fiction writers of the 40’s did it, what with WWII raging. Perhaps that’s why sci-fi became so popular – an off-world escape was probably the sure ticket for writers and readers alike. I find my fiction leaning towards the theme of confronting the world and its problems. Dislodging the firm grip that the corrupt elite have on the inner workings of man. Revealing secrets. Restoring equilibrium and thus sanity. But it has to be entertaining.
So I’m trying save the world in an entertaining way. That’s what I’m finding hard to do, given that the real world is on fire.
Writing’s a lot like cooking. Sometimes the cake won’t rise, no matter what you do, and every now and again the cake tastes better than you ever could have dreamed it would.
A work of fiction should be, for its author, a journey into the unknown, and the prose should convey the difficulties of the journey.
Language is not the lowborn, gawky servant of thought and feeling; it is need, thought, feeling, and perception itself. The shape of sentences, the song in its syllables, the rhythm of its movement, is the movement of the imagination.
WILLIAM H. GASS