Thursday, October 31, 2013

on reading - ray bradbury and the paris review

Love this interview The Paris Review did with Ray Bradbury.  Here
are some bits of what he said about writers and what they read:

Do you read your science-fiction contemporaries?

I’ve always believed that you should do very little reading in your
own field once you’re into it. But at the start it’s good to know what
everyone’s doing.

How about writers younger than you?

I prefer not to read the younger writers in the field. Quite often you
can be depressed by discovering they’ve happened onto an idea you
yourself are working on. What you want is simply to get on with
your own work.

You seem to have been open to a variety of influences.

A conglomerate heap of trash, that’s what I am. But it burns with a
high flame.

Some of the passages in The Martian Chronicles, as well as some
of your other books, are intensely lyrical. Where did that lyricism
come from?

From reading so much poetry every day of my life. My favorite
writers have been those who’ve said things well. I used to study
Eudora Welty. She has the remarkable ability to give you
atmosphere, character, and motion in a single line. In one line! You
must study these things to be a good writer. Welty would have a
woman simply come into a room and look around. In one sweep
she gave you the feel of the room, the sense of the woman’s
character, and the action itself. All in twenty words. And you say,
How’d she do that? What adjective? What verb? What noun? How
did she select them and put them together? I was an intense student.
Sometimes I’d get an old copy of Wolfe and cut out paragraphs
and paste them in my story, because I couldn’t do it, you see. I was
so frustrated! And then I’d retype whole sections of other people’s
novels just to see how it felt coming out. Learn their rhythm.

Read the full interview here.  It's wonderful.

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