Monday, October 31, 2005

Mirror to the soul

There's a lot of stuff out there about how to become a successful writer. Usually it concerns plot construction, themes, dialogue, syntax, how to find an agent etc etc.

But there's more to it than that. When you write a novel you hold up a mirror to your soul and the world peers in. Readers are very perceptive, you can't pull the wool over their eyes.

What makes Scott Fitzgerald a better (on any definition) writer than Jeffrey Archer? It's obvious, isn't it. It isn't just the writing. To be a great writer you need a deep soul. You need to love humanity and all its frailties. You need an infinite capacity to forgive the world its manifest cruelty. Above all you need to love and understand your fellow man. Knowing only yourself is not enough, as Fitzgerald discovered.

Learn the tricks of the trade by all means. But if you want to be any good as a writer you better start behaving as a decent human being first.

No comments:

Post a Comment