Saturday, May 1, 2010

Writers Instead of Writing

I haven't been avoiding writing so much as I've been sucked into a novel that I wanted to finish. And while I was reading it, I knew it could only help my own novel. Luna, by Julie Anne Peters, is a great YA story from the POV of Regan, the younger sister of Luna, a senior in high school who is coming out as trans.

I read this interesting interview with Peters, where she talks about her choice of narrator in Luna and how it was largely because she didn't feel comfortable writing from Luna's POV, not being trans herself.

Somehow I ended up at this interview with Amy Hempel (I will spare you the chain of events), and I liked this bit of advice very much, both as a writer and as a teacher:

Dave: When you teach creative writing, is there one piece of advice that seems to resonate more than others, seems to work, with students?

Hempel: Not so much a piece of advice as a question to keep in mind, which is the most basic of questions: Why are you telling me this? Someone out there will be asking, and you better have a very compelling answer, or reason.

There are people who have been raised by loving parents to believe that the world awaits their every thought and sentence, and I'm not one of them. So I respond to that. Is this essential? The question might be, Is this something only you can say—or, only you can say it this way? Is this going to make anyone's life better, or make anyone's day better? And I don't mean the writer's day.


And now I'll go work on my novel. Right after I put all of Peters' other novels on hold at the library. & looks like I'll be revisiting Amy Hempel's collected stories, too. Yay.

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