Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Read (A Lot) to Learn How to Write


A number of writers advise that the best way to learn how to write is to read. For example, Lisa See advised, "Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river." 

Phillip Lopate responded to the question, "What's your advice to new writers?" with "My advice is to read a ton and don't be afraid of being influenced." And Jenny Wingfield responded to the same question with, "Read. Write. Read. Write."

Thus, you may want to "Read. Write. Read. Write." and avoid Writers' Workshops


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Are Descriptions of Sceneries and Characters Necessary?

Per @AdviceToWriters, Anthony Trollope, the English novelist, implied that descriptions of scenery aren't necessary. 

Trollope related: "I doubt whether I ever read any description of scenery which gave me an idea of the place described."

And Lily Tuck, the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Fiction, shared: "I rarely describe what my characters look like or what they wear or how they do their hair [...]"

Admittedly, I agree with Trollope and Tuck. Descriptions of scenery and characters don't enhance my reading pleasure. Although, I'll Google an unknown tree, item of clothing or piece of furniture, in the end, those descriptions don't enhance my reading. However, I do enjoy descriptions of food. Take, for example, this scene from Nabokov's Transparent Things:

The chocolate proved unpalatable. You were served a cup of hot milk. You also got, separately, a little sugar and a dainty-looking envelope of sorts. You ripped open the upper margin of the envelope. You added the beige dust it contained to the ruthlessly homogenized milk in your cup. You took a sip---and hurried to add sugar. But no sugar could improve the insipid, sad, dishonest taste. 

While I did include descriptions of sceneries and characters in my novels, was it really necessary?