INTERVIEWER

What is the best part of writing for you?

ANGELOU

Well, I could say the end. But when the language lends itself to me, when it comes and submits, when it surrenders and says, I am yours, darling—that’s the best part.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 119, Maya Angelou.

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“Storytelling is an act of cruelty. We are cruel to our characters because to be kind is to invite boredom, and boredom in storytelling is synonymous with big doomy death-shaped death. So: be cruel to your protagonist. Rob him of something. Something important. Something he needs. A weapon. An asset. A piece of knowledge. A loved one. A DELICIOUS PIE. Take it away! Force him to operate without it. Conflict reinvigorates stale stories. New conflict, or old conflict that has evolved and grown teeth.”

Chuck Wendig

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Somewhere in my garage is a photograph of writer Ray Bradbury and myself, him leaning against a cane and me with a big grin on my face.  At that time, I was one of the youngest officers of a writers’ group that Mr. Bradbury was an honorary member of, and each year, he’d make the trek (all 16 miles of it) to speak at an annual gathering that was open to the public.

After the gathering, we’d all get into our cars and make our way to the home of one of the senior officers of the group, a published author, and with whom Mr. Bradbury was very good friends with.  There, in a group of about fifteen or less, we’d have some tea or coffee and chat with Mr. Bradbury and listen to him tell his stories.

It didn’t matter that I’d hear the same stories stories year after year.  What mattered to me was that even after all those  years, he never stopped asking questions.

He loved asking questions that begun with “What if…” with that childlike quality that we often lose as we seek to shed the innocence of our early lives and feel that we need to be more mature if we’re to make it through the night.  He taught me to never stop asking questions especially in one’s quest to be a writer, to always seek the unknown and be forever curiouser and curiouser – for that’s how we discover life, even if we were never to walk out that front door.