Bestselling author Elizabeth George has spent years teaching writing, and in Write Away she shares her knowledge of the creative process. George combines clear, intelligent, and functional advice on fiction writing with anecdotes from her own life, the story of her journey to publication, and inside information on how she meticulously researches and writes her novels. George ' s solid understanding of craft is conveyed in the enticing manner of a true storyteller, making Write Away not only a marvelous, interesting, and informative book but also a glimpse inside the world of a beloved writer.
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March 15, 2005
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Excerpt from Write Away by Elizabeth George
Story Is Character
Am I kidding myself about being a "creative artist"? Can I possibly be a creative artist if I approach this effort in so methodical and left-brained a fashion?
Journal of a Novel,
A large piece of Plexiglas covers the top of my desk. Beneath this shield, I keep bits and pieces to serve as inspiration or to cheer me up in those moments of bleak despair when I'm wondering why I've taken on one difficult project or another. Among these items I have a copy of John Steinbeck's letter to Herbert Sturz on the subject of The Grapes of Wrath -- I find his comments about critics particularly smile-producing -- as well as pictures of my dog, of myself grinning inanely alongside a wax effigy of Richard III from Madame Tussaud's waxworks in London, and several quotations from writers on one subject or another. One of those writers is Isaac Bashevis Singer who, in an interview with Richard Burgis in 1978, said the following:
When people come together -- let's say they come to a little party or something -- you always hear them discuss character. They will say this one has a bad character, this one has a good character, this one is a fool, this one is a miser. Gossip makes the conversation. They all analyze character. It seems that the analysis of character is the highest human entertainment. And literature does it, unlike gossip, without mentioning real names.
The writers who don't discuss character but problems -- social problems or any problems -- take away from literature its very essence. They stop being entertaining. We, for some reason, always love to discuss and discover character. This is because each character is different and human character is the greatest of puzzles.