Lisa See says, “Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”
How many of you have read her Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or my favorite, Peony in Love? I met her at the San Francisco Writers Conference a few years ago. She’s friendly and talked about how she frequently goes to China to research her books. I remember her characters as soon as I see Lisa’s name or the titles of her books. They live in a land and time I didn’t know until I read her books.
Cornelia Funke, a German author of children’s fiction such as Inkspell, another one of my favorites, said, “Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?” Her characters, especially Dustfinger and Meggie, are still alive to me even if I’ve read the book years ago.
George R.R. Martin is quoted as saying, “Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written.”
I haven’t read any of his books but A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter look interesting. Unlike him, I do enjoy writing, but I’m sure after my book revisions are done (are they ever really finished?), I’ll be more than happy.
This quote by Thomas Mann made me laugh and might be along the lines of what George R. R. Martin meant: “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
Vladimir Nabokov looks different in this head shot than he did holding the kitten in one of my previous posts. He is right about names. I remember his book with Lolita as the main character but I didn’t remember who wrote the book until I found his quotes for my posts. He says, “Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.”
These authors admit it isn’t or wasn’t easy for them to write. I’m encouraged by their words as I revise the first eleven chapters of Norman in the Painting before I continue to see how Jill will help Norman or if she can. And, while I struggle to control Jack who wants to be in every chapter and doesn’t realize he is a minor character, I will think of Thomas Mann.
I agree with Cornelia Funke, characters are real and, like Lolita, if the books are a success, they’ll have their own fame.