Gwen Tuinman



writing life

On Writing: Our Books as Shields

A recent movie version of Cyrano de Bergerac has me thinking about fiction authors releasing their thoughts into the world. Through love letters Cyrano writes to the lovely Roxane, on behalf of a young soldier wooing her, he expresses love for her that he’s too bashful to share directly.

Most writers, safe to say, are introverts with rich interior lives. We quietly curate personal experiences and observe human interactions and reactions. We compost, in our subconscious, scenarios both jarring and tender, impulsive and conservative. When we then write the interiority of a character or their response to crisis or great love, some of ‘us’ muddles in there too.

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On Writing to the Last Chapter

Maintaining focus for the duration of a novel is a lot like running a long distance. If you think you can, you can. A painter friend once told me that when they worked on a piece for over a month, boredom would set in. How did I stick with writing the same novel for two or three years?

The word compulsion leapt to mind. I’ve since distilled where that answer came from.

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Where Stories Live

Nothing kills story innovation faster than our inner critic. It’s counterintuitive, but when writing drafts, we need to turn our brains off. When we work from our conscious mind, the ego takes over. What a poor sentence! That character should be more likable. Does this even resemble a book page. Our writing choices become predictable and guarded. The inner editor pulls us away from the magic.

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