Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon, born 11 January 1952
- Conflict and character are the heart of good fiction, and good mystery has both of those in spades.
- I work late at night. I’m awake and nobody bothers me. It’s quiet and things come and talk to me in the silence.
- People assume that science is a very cold sort of profession, whereas writing novels is a warm and fuzzy intuitive thing. But in fact, they are not at all different.
- Read. Read everything. Read lots. You’ll learn to tell the difference between good and bad and why things work or don’t work.
- Write. The only thing that matters is getting words on paper. It doesn’t matter if you write the book in a straight line, if you use an outline, if you write it in little pieces and glue them together. Even backward. Writing is the only way you’ll discover what works for you. You can’t do it by thinking or by reading other people’s stuff.
- Don’t stop. The only way you can fail at writing is to give up.
- The best metaphor I’ve come up with for describing what I do when I write is raising continents:
When you begin, there’s nothing but a trackless sea before you, stretching to the horizon. But wait! Out in the distance, an undersea volcano begins to spray smoke and cinders! Then another–and another!
As the lava rolls down the sides of the volcanoes, hissing into the sea, huge clouds of steam rise up, making clouds and temporarily obscuring things. But as the steam and rain begin to clear, you see the islands forming around these volcanoes–atolls, lagoons, islets…the mountains grow taller, the islands enlarge, vegetation grows, animals colonise them–and as the land rises and the water falls away, you begin to see the shape of the continent beneath. The slope of one volcano flows down into the water–and another rises over there…so you can deduce what the hidden land between them must look like, under the water.
When the whole job is done, you’re left with mountain ranges of conflict and excitement, and valleys of restful lyricism. Small lakes and bodies of water remain in the hollows–those are the depths where the symbolism, the moral ambiguities, and the non-explicit themes of the book lie submerged, waiting for someone to dive for them. And when the reader leans over to look into these watery mysteries…he should see himself in the reflection. [Writer Unboxed]
Source for Image (Elenna Loughlin)
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