Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How much will you give your writing?

Miss Brill is one of Kate Mansfield's classic short stories. She has this to say on the creation of the character. This excerpt from makes me ask: how much are you willing to give writing?

"In Miss Brill, I choose not only the length of every sentence, but even the sound of every sentence. I choose the rise and fall of every paragraph to fit her, and to fit her on that day at that very moment. After I'd written it I read it aloud numbers of times--just as one would play over a musical composition--trying to get it nearer and nearer to the expression of Miss Brill until it fitted her.

Don't think I'm vain about this little sketch. It's only the method I wanted to explain. I often wonder whether other writers do the same--if a thing has really come off it seems to me there mustn't be one single word out of place, or one word that could be taken out. That's how I aim at writing. It will take some time to get anywhere near there." --From Letter to Richard Murry

Read Miss Brill here. Read Mansfield's poetry here. More on Mansfield here.

Extract from X.J. Kennedy's Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, I guess all I could get from this is that writing should be created as ART; as it really is. Many at times, we writers seem to forget the fact that words are not just jam-packed together to tell a story, but rather, they are created, just like the music from the Famous Classical musicians like Bach or Beethoven did not just occur from the ordinary pounding of the keys on a piano, or the pluck on the double bass but rather performed to make the audience hear the sound they (the composers) had envisioned/created. In the same vein, we must be willing to make our writing sing.... Until then, we haven't done anything.

    Serwus,
    Ayokunle Falomo.

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