I always find myself coming back to Nabokov.
Kira Leigh
13

There’s a line from a song. “Everything old is new again.” Art is about a cycle of repetition and growth, growth and change. Funny you mention Nabokov, as he is a model and bete noir for so many, myself included, a kind of signal point at the end of modernism that forced a turning toward change. But, truly, we could learn as much from Danielle Steele, and Vlad would be the first to tell you that. Or from watching ads on TV. And, certainly, from re-reading Homer (whatever conglomeration of voices “he” was…) again and again. I don’t know what you were taught. Different teachers teach different modes of thinking, different attacks at the page. Some want outlines, others want a more organic flow… Ultimately, whatever you are taught in one place, you have to pick up more at every step on your own. You never stop as a writer, and that’s why, contrary to your “theory,” a writer HAS to be fearless. And dogged. The more disciplined (in some senses at least and for some stretches of time at least) the better. I know this because my discipline waxes and wanes. I’ve only “finished” one of about a dozen novels (funny…if took me three tries to type out the word “finished…) and I’ve my fingers crossed on my current work, which has been going well the past few weeks. But I am most assuredly not the same writer I was when I started. Thankfully. Not only is it easier now, but it is FUN now. Sometimes. Much more of the time. Much less dread. Much less time spent wondering if I should get a cup of coffee rather than stare at the blank white page. And I think it is because I have been able to move past what those people were complaining about earlier in this conversation. It’s really very simple, once you understand the concept. You transfer your emotions to your characters by having them act and speak rather than having them think. Its a difference, basically, between showing and telling, and the different ways of engaging with the reader. And then, when you do write about your characters, write about them with more detachment. Rather than knowing absolutely what is taking place inside their minds, be more circumspect, questioning, doubtful, speculative. It’s more entertaining — on many levels — that way. It also opens up a lot of doors for you as writer to explore — and then, ultimately, doors for you to close, if you choose, later on.

But, I’m probably just telling you things you already know, so I’ll shut up and let you write, which is what you should be doing. Take care of yourself, and good luck with your work, you Grecian Wonder!

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