HOW TO WRITE

SHORT IS BETTER?


It ain't necesserily so. Here is Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhinsky's translation of Tolstoy's 258-word riff in WAR AND PEACE, quoted by Orlando Figes in The New York Review of Books,
" But Count Rastopchin, who now shamed those who were leaving, now evacuated government offices, now distributed good-for-nothing weapons among the drunken riffraff, now took up icons, now forbade Augustin to evacuate relics and icons, now confiscated all private carts, now transported the hot-air balloon constructed by Leppich on a hundred and thirty-six carts, now hinted that he would burn Moscow, now told how he had burned his own house and wrote a proclamation to the French in which he solemnly reproached them for destroying his orphanage; now he assumed the glory of having burned Moscow, now he renounced it, now he ordered the people to catch all the spies and bring them to him, now he reproached the people for it, now he banished all the French from Moscow, now he allowed Mme Aubert-Chalmet, the center of all the French population of all Moscow, to remain in the city and ordered the old and venerable postmaster general Klyucharev, who had done nothing particularly wrong, to be arrested and exiled; now he gathered the people on the Three Hills to fight the French, now, in order to be rid of those same people, he turned them loose to murder a man and escaped through a back gate himself; now he said he would not survive the misfortune of Moscow, now he wrote French verses in an album about his part in the affair—this man did not understand the meaning of the event that was taking place, but only wanted to do something himself, to astonish someone or other, to accomplish something patriotically heroic, and, like a boy, frolicked over the majestic and inevitable event of the abandoning and burning of Moscow, and tried with his little hand now to encourage, now to stem the flow of the enormous current of people which carried him along with it."



GUEST WRITING

"Writing a good story, after all, is not unlike holding a good dinner party. The fare should be succulent, but the seating should be planned with equal care: diners should be properly introduced, and delicate attention should be given to the way they might relate to one another." Francine du Plessix Gray


THE EMBROIDERED COOK
Joan Reardon, writes in MFK FISHER AMONG THE POTS AND PANS,
"(Fisher) gradually realized that writing, like cooking, was not so much about the facts as it was about creating a certain kind of control over reality and power over the one who consumed. Whether at the stove or at the typewriter, spicing up a dish -- blackberries on a bland pudding, extra curry in a stew -- and embroidering a story would become her signature."

CHEKHOV KNEW BEST

I don’t know why one can’t chase two rabbits at the same time, even in the literal sense of those words. If you have the hounds, go ahead and pursue.

One had better not rush, otherwise dung comes out rather than creative work.

You are right to demand that an artist engage his work consciously, but you confuse two different things: solving the problem and correctly posing the question.
Letter to A.S. Suvorin (October 27, 1888)

The person who wants nothing, hopes for nothing, and fears nothing can never be an artist.
Letter to A.S. Suvorin (November 25, 1892)

The person who wants nothing, hopes for nothing, and fears nothing can never be an artist.
Letter to A.S. Suvorin (November 25, 1892)

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

"Desription should be very brief and have an incidental nature."
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