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Gwen Tuinman

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writing

Writers Fighting Resistance

Creative process and flow. I’m forever curious about the practices and self-talk that writers undergo to reach that special place where the story rolls out like a movie in their head. The flipside of that splendid flow is the quagmire of resistance. I’m also interested in what holds writers back. 

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Writing and Waiting

Writing involves a lot of waiting. If you’re a fiction writer, you know exactly what I mean. First we wait for the spark of an idea, that miraculous vibration felt in our core when a song or an image or a turn of phrase tells us this is the one. This is the kernel of truth upon which we can build more truths and a fully inhabited world. Yes, this could be a novel. We snatch up the nearest pen and paper to jot ideas before they dissipate. To miss recording them would mean more waiting.

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Using Quotation Marks: Yes or No

I’ve been thinking a lot about the absence of quotation marks in recent literature. Our current generation of fiction writers is not the first to cast off traditional dialogue punctuation. James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and E.L. Doctorow were among the early pioneers in that regard. 

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, published in 1992, was the first quotation mark free novel I read. Readers complained about the difficulty to distinguish dialogue from narration. I remember my own concentration being pulled from the story. Oh wait, someone just spoke? Who said that? After a few chapters, persistence paid off. The story’s current pulled me forward.

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