thoughts on writing from Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami quote

“Writing is similar to trying to seduce a woman. A lot has to do with practice, but mostly it’s innate. Anyway, good luck.”

“….You have to be mindful when you’re writing something. I keep in mind to ‘not have the pen get too mighty’ when I write. I choose my words so the least amount of people get hurt, but that’s also hard to achieve. No matter what is written, there is a chance of someone getting hurt or offending someone. Keeping all that in mind, I try as much as I can to write something that will not hurt anyone. This is a moral every writer should follow.

But at the same time, when you need to fight a battle, you also need to reserve energy to be able to fight. Something like what you use to tighten your stomach. But that’s only when you really need to. If you recklessly make the pen mightier than the sword, you’re putting yourself in danger. That’s my personal opinion. Some may think otherwise.”

Haruki Murakami, from Vulture’s collection of the best advice Murakami posted in response to reader-submitted questions. The interaction took place on the author’s website, Mr. Murakami’s Place (Murakami-san no tokoro), most of which is in Japanese, but Vulture translated the ones included in its column. Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. His most recent novels are Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and IQ84.

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thoughts on Fiction Writing from Annie Weatherwax

quote from Annie Weatherwax

“I learned how to write fiction by understanding the language of visual art.”

“Fiction writing for me has much more to do with the disciplined skill of seeing than with the study of literature. Seeing has little to do with language. In fact, true seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees. It is looking at a piece of paper and seeing a tree, then seeing the man who chopped it down, his hands, his face, how he walks. Hidden inside those visual details is the story of his life.”

“Body language can reveal more about character than almost any other detail.”

“The process of finding a character in a hunk of clay is the same as finding a story on a blank page. You must work a piece from all angles and recognize the danger of focusing too quickly on details when the structure and form have not yet been fully established.”

—Annie Weatherwax, from her Op-Ed piece, “The Art of Fiction Writing,” in the Publisher’s Weekly’s Soapbox section. Weatherwax is a visual artist and writer. She spent most of her career sculpting superheroes and cartoon characters for Nickelodeon, DC Comics, Warner Bros., Pixar, and others. Her debut novel, All We Had, will be published by Scribner in August 2014. Visit her website to see her work.

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