Tag Archives: Joan Didion

Scavenging for Fuel

What fuels my writing process—aside from caffeine and chocolate? Sometimes I’m tempted to turn to books that are far too familiar or similar to what I’m writing. (And sometimes that is just what my process needs.) But I am often better served by books (or other media) that are “foreign” to me in some way. Whether it’s poetry, essays, science writing, or other nonfiction, books written by authors from another culture or country, new music, or art galleries, I think exploration “shakes things up,” allowing the unexpected to percolate through my subconscious and enrich my work.

For example, this past month or two, I’ve read (or have read portions of) the following: Continue reading

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Why study craft?

1) Madison Smartt Bell states in his book about structure, Narrative Design, that craft guides the unconscious “into harness,” similar to the way musicians study scales or sculptors study anatomy. Once craft becomes reflexive, the unconscious accesses this knowledge automatically, leaving the mind free to play, to create, to make the magic happen. Continue reading

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