September 27, 2010

Some thoughtful quotes from an interview with a horror writer

This is from an interview with Thomas Ligotti, a modern horror writer who's one of my favorite authors. I think that what he has to say about writing a story applies just as well to the process of composing or studying and performing music:
I’ve always had to know enough about the story I’m going to write and be enthusiastic about it to make it worth the bother to write the thing in the first place. So I meditate on it, make tons of notes, ask myself if there is something missing from the story that should be there or something that’s there and shouldn’t be, and rack my brain to take the idea of the story to the farthest limit it will allow. Satisfied that the story will be worth writing, I start writing it. In the process, I usually come up with better ideas than I had originally planned. If that didn’t happen, the story would only be adequate, as a number of my stories have been. It’s not possible to plan every metaphor and structural aspect ahead of time, of course. I’ve had to trust that my abilities in these areas won’t let me down.
Here's another interesting quote from his answer to the preceding question.
Then I read Poe and Lovecraft for the first time and found what I didn’t know I was looking for: writers who put themselves on every page of their work, who wrote like personal essayists and lyric poets. Every fiction writer I’ve ever admired wrote in this manner.
A lot of emphasis gets put on respecting composers' intentions and studying scores carefully, but in the end most of the the best and most widely respected and listened-to performers are known better because they put themselves into everything that they play. If you compare Barrueco and Williams playing a piece, I am sure they both are attempting to convey the meaning of the score, but in the end they always sound like themselves.

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