Wednesday, November 17, 2010


One of the things I like about Mary Gordon's novel "Spending" is its emphasis on the day-to-day aspects of a creative process. "I have a show at a major gallery in six months, so I need a subject for a series of paintings."

A similar note from Stephen King, who says he rarely thinks about the "themes" of his stories; that a recitation of plot is often his only response when someone asks him what a book is "about." ("It's about a guy who ...") Thinking about theme is only helpful, he says, when he gets stuck and doesn't know what should happen next. Formulating the theme can help him generate new developments.

Which is not say that all big name writers who gas on about the importance of their themes are blowing smoke. Only most.

No comments: