“[Writing is] hostile in that you’re trying to make somebody see something the way you see it, trying to impose your idea, your picture. It’s hostile to try to wrench around someone else’s mind that way. Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else’s dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream.”
This is taken from a 1978 interview for The Paris Review. The whole conversation is worth reading, but this quote really jumped out at me.
“I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit.”
—J. R. R. Tolkien
And what a map it was…
The map above is one of Tolkien’s original sketches and is a part of the Bodleian Libraries collection at the University of Oxford. Tolkien was a prolific sketcher, and many more of his drawings can be seen in Ethan Gilsdorf’s 2015 Wired article aptly named: See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-earth. It’s worth checking out.
“All her life she had made her own mistakes and her own successes, both usually by trying what others said she could not do.”
—Vonda N. McIntyre, Aztecs, 1977
Requiescat in pace, Vonda. Thank you for all of the incredible worlds. (For me personally, I discovered her work through 1981’s The Entropy Effect, one of the first Star Trek novels I’d ever read—though, I wouldn’t find it until the early 90s.)
“…the best bookstore would have no genre labels in it at all. That’s absolutely been my aim all along: to get rid of those distinctions.”
As someone who prefers his stories to be a cross-genre, this line really resonated with me. The quote comes from a great little write up from a recent appearance by the man himself where he discussed his work and his time at New Worlds. It’s worth a read.
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”
—Octavia E. Butler
Hey, I’m back! I’ll have a trip report coming soon, along with more Raunch Reviews and a few new brush sets for your fantasy maps. Oh, and I’m still plugging away at Gleam Upon the Waves. I think you’re going to like it.