The Saturday Writing Post — on failure

Interviewer Stephanie Stephens: “Is there one thing in life you’d like to undo?”

Actor Jeffrey Tambor: “No, and I’ll tell you why. All merits and all mistakes produce all the colors on your palette, and the interesting thing about acting or any art is that the mistakes are as valuable as the merits. So I’ve gotten great lessons from errors in my life. You have to make mistakes.”

– Jeffrey Tambor, interviewed in Parade, May 7, 2017

(Photo by Leslie: the bridge over the Swan River, at Bigfork)

The Saturday Writing Post — on failure, again

Maybe it’s because I’m working on something completely new, writing a novel without a contract for the first time in six years, that all the quotes in my collection that jump out at me are about failure. < sigh > Reading them is helpful — as was the sight of a hillside full of my favorite wildflower, the arrowleaf balsamroot. I hope the quotes are useful to you, too.

“[Successful novelists] know that success is never a sure thing and that failure is always an option. Writing is intimidating and scary, but also exciting, because the most important things we do in life involve some risk.”

– John Freeman, author of How to Read a Novelist, in The Writer, Oct 2013

Saturday Writing Quote — on characters

01_Barn_Pastel_WEB“A story is finished when the mystery of the character has been revealed. That’s what Flannery O’Connor wrote at least, and she tends to get it right. And no mystery can be revealed if the character isn’t challenged to come to terms with what makes her alive: the desires that get her up in the morning in the first place, whether she understands them or not.”

— Michelle Hoover, in The Duplicity of A Character’s Desire, Writer Unboxed, 3/20/16

(Illustration: pastel on garnet paper, by Leslie)

Saturday Writing Quote — on characters

imgp4301I’m enjoying picking a theme for the month’s quotes, and hope you are, too. By the way, if you come across a quote you love about writing, art, or creativity that you’d like to share, send it to me at leslie@lesliebudewitz.com — merci!

“Surely the test of a novel’s characters is that you feel a strong interest in them and their affairs—the good to be successful, the bad to suffer failure.”

— Mark Twain

(Photo: My latest box of characters, officially out June 8 but already available in some outlets!)

Saturday Writing Quote — on naming

heart key“When I’m designing a character, I begin with a name. To my way of thinking, it’s impossible to create a character without one. The name I choose cannot be arbitrary, either. It’s the first of the tools that I can use in revealing who and what my creation is, and silly is the writer who fails to recognize this and just slaps any old name on a character without realizing that name’s import to the reader. Names can suggest just about anything to the reader. … traits of personality … social and ethnic background … geography … attitude, or even events that are yet to happen in the story. Names influence how a reader will feel about a character. They also make it easier for the writer to create a character.”

— Elizabeth George, American crime novelist, in Write Away!