Highlights from Steering the Craft. [13/52]

13%2F52 Highlights from Steering the craft.jpg

Here are some of my highlights from the book Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin. My favorites are in bold.

An awareness of what your own writing sounds like is an essential skill for a writer.

To break a rule you have to know the rule. A blunder is not a revolution.

And that’s the important thing for a writer: to know what you’re doing with your language and why.

In a narrative, the chief duty of a sentence is to lead to the next sentence.

Think of it like this: there’s one best way for the parts of a sentence to fit together, and your job as a writer is to find it.

There is no optimum sentence length. The optimum is variety.

When the quality that the adverb indicates can be put in the verb itself (they ran quickly = they raced) or the quality the adjective indicates can be put in the noun itself (a growling voice = a growl), the prose will be cleaner, more intense, more vivid.

Nothing in your story happens “somehow.” It happens because you wrote it. Take responsibility!

Plot is a marvelous device. But it’s not superior to story, and not even necessary to it.

Crafty writers (in any genre) don’t allow Exposition to form Lumps. They break up the information, grind it fine, and make it into bricks to build the story with.

There’s an inherent sameness to much action—the hero cuts off one knight’s head, then another, then another—and mere violence doesn’t make it interesting.

Jump. Build, Fly.
F.C. Shultz