Literature, Writing

Architects and Gardeners

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
― George R.R. Martin

Dear Vinepire,

I have stumbled upon this fascinating description of writing styles by the author of the Game Of Thrones series. I usually hear the terms “outliners” and “those without outline”, but find the image he offers us much more accurate. What do you think of his explanation, do you agree with the imagery he uses?

Thank you for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : Are you more of a gardener or an architect?

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Literature, Vampy times!

Adopt, don´t buy.

There was a cat,

Asking for a pat,

It was a stray.

Into my house

It brought one dead mouse,

I said : „Please stay.“

PS : Every year after the holiday season, many animals used as gifts end up in shelters. To make living presents is irresponsible. Please adopt animals instead of buying them, they are just as good companions, I know it first hand.

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Writing

You can´t judge the quality of your own writing.

Dear Vinepire,

Did you know what those other writers are saying behind your back? Because I do : you don´t know the true quality of your work! Now don´t be shocked, but I think it might be true…

Here´s the deal. Your words spill out from under your fingertips in a stream so vivid, you can almost feel your ideas flowing. No matter how thoroughly you edit, there will always be some of that heat in your work, forever. And that is probably my favourite thing about the craft, which allows the everyday person to create that sort of hocrux for their imagination. The downside, however, comes into light the moment you compare your take on the book with other´s.

They have not carried those images inside of them, did not let them into the world with as much anguish, and so lack that emotional attachment to the words you so cherish. Don´t hold a grudge against these poor souls, they don´t know any better. Instead, do the only thing in your power and step back from it all. To pass the time during the first storm of readers following your books début (be it in the family circle or on the best-seller list), sit down and remember which work Dickens thought was his best, then laugh about it.

Now whether you decide to open to criticism or not is your decision, but I recommend to trust your opinion the most, even when you´re probably wrong. You will see things that aren´t there, ghosts of talent, shadows cast by mistakes. That´s the price for the privilege of writing what you think, how you think it should appear on the page. So, when those same illusions have set the creation-machine into motion, why should you walk away from something so effective? Trust your erroneous beliefs, and let them become the only ones with the power to make you accept constructive criticism. You´ll stay confident and become more open for advice. And in the end, you can´t know how good your book really is (let alone how long this label will stay with it as the years go by), so you can as swell stop bothering about it altogether.

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire!

PS : Do you remember by how many editors Harry Potter got rejected? That´s something that boosts my writing-confidence!

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Literature, Writing

Should writers seek criticism?

“Protect your voice and your vision. If going on the Internet and reading Internet reviews is bad for you, don’t do it. … Do what gets you to write and not what blocks you. … Don’t take any guff off anybody.”
–Anne Rice

Dear Vinepire,

I have never kept my admiration for Anne Rice, the legend behind  The Vampire Chronicles a secret, and would write a trilogy for her to set the eyes that saw Lestat clearer than anyone else ever will, upon my writing. But back in reality, I stumbled over her curious piece of advice : ignoring criticism protection of the creative flow. I will just assume that it sounds equally strange to you.

Having done a little research on her first, most famous novel, Interview with the Vampire, I felt like her categorical rejection of dismissing comments was grounded : Her hit novel earned, according to Rice, about a year´s worth of rejections from publishers. So my admiration for her just grew, as despite this blow, she had never given it up. But really, can the average published-writer-to-be compare him/herself to that author?

I´ve believed, until now, that writers are somehow different people, in the sense of keeping always the will to improve each other´s performance, while in ruthless competition on a selective market. The criticism, even if holding barely on the shaky legs of opinion, seemed food for the muse, not poison. After all, as close as the bond between us and our freshly spilled ink might indeed be, don´t we all secretly enjoy the satisfaction inspired by unjustified criticism? I can often barely decide wether I like it less or more that the thankfulness for real constructive advice.

So, being quite frankly lost, I would like to ask you, dear reader, what your take on the dilemma is. And in the meanwhile, please, feel free to criticize anything you like…

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

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