Friday, June 30, 2006

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley

from 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley, p. 224


"The critical faculty does not, in any of its stages of development, promote creative freedom. Criticism is about identifying mistakes and proscribing them. If you are adept at criticism and the language of criticism is second nature to you, your lovely first draft will appear to be full of mistakes even while it is accumulating, and you will have plenty of opprobrious terms to apply to it that will enhance your feelings of shame and cause your rough draft to fail in the only way that it can fail--by not arriving at the end of the story.

The only remedy for this problem is in the degree to which you are stimulated by the material to ignore your own critical habits and discourse. If your material arouses true passion in you, you might get there...

Avid readers who become novelists are always a little ahead of themselves in terms of taste, but only a little ahead. Admiration for the work of other novelists should remind you of the goal, but not make the goal seem unattainable, should open up your desire to write, not shut it down."


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