On why you should approach writing lessons with caution. “I think craft is a dangerous thing. I saw a trailer for a movie, I don’t want to say what the movie is, but it’s coming out soon. And it was gorgeous, it was… gorgeous. And it made me really depressed, and I was trying to figure out why. I think there was an amazing amount of craft and skill on the part of the filmmakers in this movie. And yet it was the same shit. I know that this movie is going to do really well, and I know that the people who made it are going to get rewarded for it, and so the cycle continues. So I think the danger of craft is that it needs to be in second position to what it is that you’re doing. It’s seductive to put it in first position, often because what you’re doing is meaningless or worthless, or just more of the same. So you can distinguish yourself by being very, very good at it. I think you need to be willing to be naked when you do anything creatively in film or any other form, that’s really what you have to do because otherwise it’s very hard to separate it from marketing. I think that it just sort of becomes what it’s about.” – Charlie Kaufman ( ‘Inside John Malkovitch’ ‘Adaptation’)
I know what Kaufman is talking about here. By far and the most important thing is writing is not your writing, but your voice. That is, the guiding intelligence behind the writing. What lies in between the lines. This is what really carries a good book – not plot, character, or dialogue. But they help.
And nakedness. Yes, be naked. Be yourself. As Meg Rosoff writes about ‘voice’ –
“The voice lies between the conscious and unconscious mind”
It is not a technique to be taught.
“It is the deepest possible reflection of who you are..in your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul”
‘Who are you?..who are you really”?
““Stop thinking about your voice. Think about your life instead. Live. Take risks. Seek wisdom. Confront the unconfrontable. Find out who you are. Let your voice gain power as you go”