The Scientific Indian

What a writer needs

Sympathy, help, and a positive engagement. – Robert Louis Stevenson.

That partial quote is from a fascinating essay called My First Book by the same author. A must read for all young writers. Here’s a bit more:

The accepted novelist may take his novel up and put it down, spend days upon it in vain, and write not any more than he makes haste to blot. Not so the beginner. Human nature has certain rights; instinct–the instinct of self-preservation–forbids that any man (cheered and supported by the consciousness of no previous victory) should endure the miseries of unsuccessful literary toil beyond a period to be measured in weeks. There must be something for hope to feed upon. The beginner must have a slant of wind, a lucky vein must be running, he must be in one of those hours when the words come and the phrases balance of themselves–EVEN TO BEGIN.

In other news, I listened to Paul Theroux read ‘The Gospel According to Mark’, an extraordinarily subversive story by Jorge Luis Borgess with an astonishing end. Borgess is such a delight!


Have a go at TheScian SF Short Story contest. You’ll get sympathy, help, and a positive engagement.