The writing

I've recently thought aloud (i.e. blogged) about the importance of theme and viewpoint in the writing of fiction, but of course the storyline is of equal importance. And more important in my view than any of these is the writing itself .

The choice and the arrangement of words is, in my personal view, what differentiates the artist from the writer from the author. To adopt some extreme examples, in Joyce's Ulysses, Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls, Keats' Ode to Autumn and anything and everything by Shakespeare, the writing transcends and transforms all else. How it was as a Joycean kettle boiled, what happened inside the soul of a young woman being made love to on a Spanish hillside, a poet dreaming his seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness all along the bank of a Winchester river, all are made memorable, made beautiful by the final choice and arrangement of words.

It is said that Proust would spend hours and hours re-arranging the position of a comma within a single sentence. I can believe it. Perfection can come instantly or it can take much time or it may never come however much perspiration accompanies the inspiration.

Perfection has to be recognised objectively and with complete honesty by the word artist before he or she can hope to achieve it, even if he or she knows knows full well that he or she might never achieve it oneself.

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