Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lit TV: "You Have to Forget Yourself"

This craft talk by Peter Straub, offered by The Center for Fiction, starts off jokey but ends up quite serious indeed. He opens with rules and tricks, like starting a sentence with "and" or "but" is like "a rimshot" (and not in a good way), but by part three, admits to slogging with the process like anyone else. There aren't really any tricks. With regard to revision: "What really works for me is always related to something I'd written earlier, and the best advice I give myself in such times is to really go back and look at what I did on page four, look at what I did in chapter three--because there's a reason those things happen. They seem random, and at the time when you write them they may be random, but as you go on, they're determinative. They color everything that happens afterward, and they must be remembered."

He reminds that it's not about you, it's about the thing you are making. With respect to killing his favorite parts: "You have to forget yourself." I think I need to hang that sentence over my monitor.

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