The Nighttime Novelist...accomplishes more in about 240 pages than a dozen other "how to write" or "craft your novel" books have ever done.

--Helen Gallagher/Blogcritics
[Review]

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Raymond Carver on Precision

It's possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things - a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman's earrings - with immense, even startling power. It is possible to write a line of seemingly innocuous dialogue and have it send a chill along the reader's spine - the source of artistic delight, as Nabokov would have it. That's the kind of writing that most interests me. I hate sloppy or haphazard writing whether it flies under the banner of experimentation or else is just clumsily rendered realism. In Isaac Babel's wonderful short story, 'Guy de Maupassant,' the narrator has this to say about the writing of fiction: 'No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place.'


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