I have always been jealous of artists. The smell of the studio, the names of the various tools, the look of a half-finished canvas all shout of creation. What do writers have in comparison? Only the flat paper, the clacketing of the typewriter or the scrape of a pen across a yellow page. And then, when the finished piece is presented, there is a small wonder on one hand, a manuscript smudged with erasures or crossed out lines on the other. The impact of the painting is immediate, the manuscript must unfold slowly through time.
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In fiction, the characters have their own lives. They may start as a gloss on the author's life, but they move on from there. In poetry, especially confessional poetry but in other poetry as well, the poet is not writing characters so much as emotional truth wrapped in metaphor. Bam! Pow! A shot to the gut.
It is winter now, and the roses are blooming again, their petals bright against the snow. My father died last April; my sisters no longer write, except at the turning of the year, content with their fine houses and their grandchildren. Beast and I putter in the gardens and walk slowly on the forest paths. [from the poem, Beauty and the Beast: An Anniversary]
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Do not expect too much from your child and she will grow in your love... But if you push her too much, you will push her away. A child is not yours to own but to raise. She may not be what you will have her to be, but she will be what she has to be. Remember what they say, that 'Wood may remain twenty years in the water, but it is still not a fish.
1. Write every day 2. Write what interests you. 3. Write for the child inside of you. (Or the adult, if you are writing adult books.) 4. Write with honest emotion 5. Be careful of being facile 6. Be wary of preaching 7. Be prepared for serendipity Finally I would remind you of something that Churchill told a group of school boys: "Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never give up.
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Ah-now you think I have been lying to you, that this is only a story. It has a king in it. And while a story with Death might be true, a story with a king in it is always a fairy tale. But remember, this comes from a time when kings were as common as corn. Plant a field and you got corn. Plant a kingdom and you got a king. It is that simple.
Fiction cannot recite the numbing numbers, but it can be that witness, that memory. A storyteller can attempt to tell the human tale, can make a galaxy out of the chaos, can point to the fact that some people survived even as most people died. And can remind us that the swallows still sing around the smokestacks.
A mist. A great mist. It covered the entire kingdom. And everyone in it - the good people and the not so good, the young people and the not-so-young, and even Briar Rose's mother and father fell asleep. Everyone slept: lords and ladies, teacher and tummlers, dogs and doves, rabbits and rabbitzen and all kinds of citizens. So fast asleep they were, they were not able to wake up for a hundred years.
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In fantasy stories we learn to understand the differences of others, we learn compassion for those things we cannot fathom, we learn the importance of keeping our sense of wonder. The strange worlds that exist in the pages of fantastic literature teach us a tolerance of other people and places and engender an openness toward new experience. Fantasy puts the world into perspective in a way that 'realistic' literature rarely does. It is not so much an escape from the here-and-now as an expansion of each reader's horizons.
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Just write. If you have to make a choice, if you say, 'Oh well, I'm going to put the writing away until my children are grown,' then you don't really want to be a writer. If you want to be a writer, you do your writing... If you don't do it, you probably don't want to be a writer, you just want to have written and be famous""which is very different.
And for adults, the world of fantasy books returns to us the great words of power which, in order to be tamed, we have excised from our adult vocabularies. These words are the pornography of innocence, words which adults no longer use with other adults, and so we laugh at them and consign them to the nursery, fear masking as cynicism. These are the words that were forged in the earth, air, fire, and water of human existence, and the words are: Love. Hate. Good. Evil. Courage. Honor. Truth.
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When you realize my best selling books are 'Owl Moon,' the 'How Do Dinosaur' books, and 'Devil's Arithmetic,' how can the public make sense of that! I have fans who think I only write picture books or only write SF and fantasy. I have fanatics of my poetry and are stunned to find out I write prose, too!