Last week’s Friday Five with Marilynne Robinson went over well
so I thought I’d share some more insights from her scary-smart mind:
1) Be aware of the effect metaphor has on other metaphors. Rather than writing your story as "beads on a string," view it as a resonating chamber in which all pieces must be affected by whatever else is vibrating.
2) If you write with a public in mind, you’re dead.
3) When you’re writing something and encounter great difficulty, don’t be discouraged. You can’t write good fiction if you feel you already know everything about what you’re writing. Stumble on something? It means it’s a legitimate question. Set it aside and let your mind do the work. Don’t have to flail away until you find a "solution." Don’t force the issue by using your Front Office Mind.
4) Your Front Office Mind is how you operate on a daily basis (getting rid of telemarketers, making appointments, etc.) The Front Office Mind is not the mind you use when you write. The other mind, the middle mind, is where all the work is done; it’s been thinking about things for a very long time, waiting for you to ask.
5) Short story has a responsibility to itself: the posing of a question that somehow answers itself.
Bonus gem: Pay attention to when you’re writing well so that it’s easier to fall back into that mode the next time.