Don’t Copy, Be Creative
Adam Woods
41

Adam Woods,

Never copy; but by all means steal from the masters (and mistresses) of prose, until you develop a voice that is an amalgamation of these various forms, from the telegraphic style of James Ellroy (with his collection of articulate beauties, wise bartenders, wizened detectives, wry gangsters and witty secretaries; all of them enshrouded in a haze of cigarette smoke and lit by that amber restorative known as whisky) to the exhilarating sentences of Vladimir Nabokov (with the most outstanding opening to a work of literature, describing Lolita as Lola in slacks; Dolly at school; Dolores on the dotted line; three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.).

Steal. Steal. Steal!

And write.

Write constantly, with increasing confidence and flair, until your voice emerges on the page. It may contain echoes of greatness; because its literary DNA will possess the markings of departed artists and working artisans, but it will be yours alone.

Be a word thief.

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