About writing matters

This is a page for adding a thought now and then on anything to do with writing.

I’m starting on a new novel at the moment and I read recently in The Guardian: “A first line should open up your ribcage.” Now, that is scaring me a little.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Neitsche

“This most of all. Ask yourself in the most silent hour or the night: must I write?” Rainer Maria Rilke.

“The first sentence of every novel should be: “Trust me. This will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human.” Michael Ondatje

“We should be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” Vonnegut

“If we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention.” Ben Marcus

The last line of a story should be – “And nothing would ever be the same again.” Gogol

I love starting on a new project. The possibilities are endless. I can dream up new characters, place them in new settings and tweak reality. But I find that I prefer to base my scenes on places that I’ve been to. I feel more secure that way. I’ve never been to Japan, for example, and I don’t imagine I would place a story there. Although it’s possible to look on the internet and use images to imaging you are there, it is not the same. And I’m terrified of writing something incorrect. I’ll own up to being a real anorak when some authors locate their stories in Italy and use incorrect Italian. It puts me off.