A bizarrerie of fires, cunabulum of light, it moved with a deft, almost dainty deliberation, phasing into and out of existence like a storm-shot piece of evening; or perhaps the darkness between the flares was more akin to its truest nature swirl of black ashes assembled in prancing cadence to the lowing note of desert wind down the arroyo behind buildings as empty yet filled as the pages of unread books or stillnesses between the notes of a song.
I see myself as a novelist, period. I mean, the material I work with is what is classified as science fiction and fantasy, and I really don't think about these things when I'm writing. I'm just thinking about telling a story and developing my characters.
Dwelling beside a body of water is tonic for the weary psyche. Sea smells, sea birds, seawrack, sands - alternately cool, warm, moist and dry - a taste of brine and the presence of the rocking, slopping bluegraygreen spit-flecked waters, has the effect of rinsing the emotions, bathing the outlook, bleaching the conscience.
Of all the things a man may do, sleep probably contributes most to keeping him sane. It puts brackets about each day. If you do something foolish or painful today, you get irritated if somebody mentions it, today. If it happened yesterday, though, you can nod or chuckle, as the case may be. You've crossed through nothingness or dream to another island in Time.
I don't know that I ever wanted greatness, on its own. It seems rather like wanting to be an engineer, rather than wanting to design something--or wanting to be a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip.
In the mirrors of the many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I sometimes fancy myself an evil which exists to oppose other evils; and on that great Day of which the prophets speak but in which they do not truly believe, on the day the world is utterly cleansed of evil, then I too will go down into darkness, swallowing curses. Until then, I will not wash my hands nor let them hang useless.
Occasionally, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something, which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant -you just don't know which. You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you'd mapped out for yourself. Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the first place. Trust your demon.
Tonight I will suck the marrow from your bones!” it said. “I will dry them and work them most cunningly into instruments of music! Whenever I play upon them, your spirit will writhe in bodiless agony!” “You burn prettily,” I said.
I guess you have to be a little arrogant to be a writer. I decided early on that just because a lot of other writers were bothered by getting bad reviews didn't really mean that the things were particularly important. By the same token, the good ones didn't mean all that much either. So I just forget about reviews and I wrote what I wanted.
You who are dead ... tonight you will disport yourselves for my pleasure. Food and wine will pass between your dead lips, though you will not taste it. Your dead stomachs will hold it within you, while your dead feet take the measure of a dance. Your dead mouths will speak words that will have no meaning to you, and you will embrace one another without pleasure. You will sing for me if I wish it. You will lie down again when I will it.... Let the revelry begin.
After a while the business end of writing takes too much of the writing time. Better to pay someone ten percent and find that you're still more than ten percent ahead in the end. Which is true. My present agent says that he always feels that a good agent during the course of a year should earn back for his client at least the ten percent he takes by way of commission, so the client's really nothing out. And what he should ideally do is make him more money than the ten percent.
Nick swore he'd die with this boots on, on some exotic safari, but he found his Kilimanjaro in a hospital on Earth, where they'd cured everything that was bothering him, except for the galloping pneumonia he'd picked up in the hospital. That had been, roughly, two hundred and fifty years ago. I'd been a pallbearer.
The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable. The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either.
... "fire" does not matter, "earth" and "air" and "water" do not matter. "I" do not matter. No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words. The more words he remembers, the cleverer do his fellows esteem him. He looks upon the great transformations of the world, but he does not see them as they were seen when man looked upon reality for the first time. Their names come to his lips and he smiles as he tastes them, thinking he knows them in the naming.
I walked among Shadows, and found a race of furry creatures, dark and clawed and fanged, reasonably manlike, and about as intelligent as a freshman in the high school of your choice-sorry, kids, but what I mean is they were loyal, devoted, honest, and too easily screwed by bastards like me and my brother. I felt like the dee-jay of your choice.
I never plan ahead, with the exception of the Amber books which had to proceed in sequence. But I don't really like to know what I'm going to be working on a year in advance. So I just sign blank contracts for books and whatever strikes me as a good idea is what I write about.
One of my standard - and fairly true - responses to the question as to how story ideas come to me is that story ideas only come to me for short stories. With longer fiction, it is a character (or characters) coming to visit, and I am then obliged to collaborate with him/her/it/them in creating the story.