BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

A Writer doesn’t need tricks…Raymond Carver: Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes)

TricksI hate tricks. At the first sign of a trick or gimmick in a piece of fiction, a cheap trick or even an elaborate trick, I tend to look for cover. Tricks are ultimately boring, and I get bored easily, which may go along with my not having much of an attention span. But extremely clever chi-chi writing, or just plain tomfoolery writing, puts me to sleep. Writers don’t need tricks or gimmicks or even necessarily need to be the smartest fellows on the block. At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing- a sunset or an old shoe- in absolute and simple amazement.
Raymond Carver 1938 – 1988 Read a Paris Review interview with the man many consider to be the greatest short story writer of the 20th century

photo credit: RedRoseRattus via photopin cc

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4 comments on “A Writer doesn’t need tricks…Raymond Carver: Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes)

  1. Kym Lloyd
    March 2, 2014

    Good to keep in mind re Carver’s ‘not needing tricks’ advice – I have a note on my writing desk to ‘always be truthful’. It is easy, especially if one is deep in the long work of writing a novel, to be lured by the trap of ‘trying to be clever’. I have learned to recognise the warning signs – I get ‘fidgety in my head’, the writing is becoming pedestrian etc etc. Rather than ‘try too hard’ I go for a run/walk the dog/bake cakes – anything which takes me away from the work so that I can return refreshed and attempt, without ‘trying-for-cleverness’, to say simply, uniquely, heartfully.

    • bridget whelan
      March 6, 2014

      Great advice on how to avoid that tricksy-cleverness that Carver (and most readers) hate so much…

  2. Carol Balawyder
    March 2, 2014

    Raymond Carver is one of my favorite writers. His writing is crisp and lean.
    I really like this line of his: At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing- a sunset or an old shoe- in absolute and simple amazement.

    We all like to be amazed and I guess what we’re asking of a story is: amaze me.

  3. bridget whelan
    March 4, 2014

    I share your feelings about Raymond Carver. I know his writing doesn’t appeal to everyone but I think tight writing is good writing – and he never wasted a word

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2014 by in Quotes and tagged , , , , .
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