Searching on-line for information about John Berger’s classic postmodern analysis of “reading” art and various texts, I found this brilliant and gorgeous “mind map” of the book over on Austin Kleon’s blog. He’s also got some cool “blackout poems” there some of which will be in his book coming out from Harper-Collins February 2010.
Five lessons on writing from short story master Raymond Carver
1) In an introduction to Where I’m Calling From, Ray Carver quotes a line from Babel’s Collected Stories:
“No iron can stab the heart with such force as a period put just in the right place.”
2) Of course, this applies to all writing! Later he quotes V.S. Pritchard’s definition of a short story as
“something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing.”
3) First the glimpse, he writes:
“Then the glimpse given life, turned into something that will illuminate the moment and just maybe lock it indelibly into the reader’s consciousness. Make it a part of the reader’s own experience, as Hemingway so nicely put it. Forever, the writer hopes. Forever.”
4) In his introduction to The Best American Short Stories 1986, which he edited, Carver lists 5 elements he considers important to a short story:
choices, conflict, drama, consequence, and narrative.
5) And last but not least, Carver believes:
“in the efficacy of the concrete word, be it noun or verb, as opposed to the abstract or arbitrary or slippery word–or phrase or sentence.”