Writing controlled fiction is called “plotting.” Buckling your seatbelt and letting the story take over, however… that is called “storytelling.” Storytelling is as natural as breathing; plotting is the literary version of artificial respiration.
Art is that thing having to do only with itself – the product of a successful attempt to make a work of art. Unfortunately, there are no examples of art, nor good reasons to think that it will ever exist. (Everything that has been made has been made with a purpose, everything with an end that exists outside that thing, i.e., I want to sell this, or I want this to make me famous and loved, or I want this to make me whole, or worse, I want this to make others whole.) And yet we continue to write, paint, sculpt and compose. Is this foolish of us?
You know what talent is? The curse of expectation. As a kid you have to deal with that, beat it somehow. If you can write, you think God put you on earth to blow Shakespeare away. Or if you can paint, maybe you think – I did – that God put you on earth to blow your father away.
It is now your duty to hone that talent, because a person who wastes his God-given talents is a donkey.
I was being paid to do what I loved, and there’s no gig on earth better than that; it’s like a license to steal.
You must understand that when you’re writing a novel you are not making anything up. It’s all there and you just have to find it.
Rule 63a. Always make the bad guy smarter, thereby putting the good guy in an unwinnable situation. No, I’m not talking about Pan Am.