23 January 2013

Novel-writing tips from beyond the grave, part III…

Anna DavisAnna Davis Director, CBC Writing School
by Anna Davis Guest Blog, Opinion

Good day to you, genius writers.  Here’s our final extract from Dorothea Brande’s wonderful Becoming a Writer (1934).  I love her emphasis on LIVING as being important for writing.  Also… er…  she appears not to be too keen on the coming-of-age novel!

The Blinders of Habit

The genius keeps all his days the vividness and intensity of interest that a sensitive child feels in his expanding world. Many of us keep this responsiveness well into adolescence; very few mature men and women are fortunate enough to preserve it into their routine lives… Too many of us allow ourselves to go about wrapped in our personal problems, walking blindly through our days with our attention all given to some petty matter of no particular importance… This dullness of apprehension to which we all submit spinelessly is a real danger to a writer. Since we are not laying up for ourselves daily observations, fresh sensations, new ideas, we tend to turn back for our material to the same period in our lives and rewrite endlessly the sensations of our childhood or early years.

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