October 17, 2010

Thought for the Day

Elif Batumen on the creative writing workshop:

Because writing is suspected to be narcissistic and wasteful, it must be ‘disciplined’ by the programme … The workshop’s most famous mantras – ‘Murder your darlings,’ ‘Omit needless words,’ ‘Show, don’t tell’ – also betray a view of writing as self-indulgence, an excess to be painfully curbed in AA-type group sessions. Shame also explains the fetish of ‘craft’: an ostensibly legitimising technique, designed to recast writing as a workmanlike, perhaps even working-class skill, as opposed to something every no-good dilettante already knows how to do…

As long as it views writing as shameful, the programme will not generate good books, except by accident.

Posted by Dr. Frank at October 17, 2010 10:51 PM | TrackBack