"The difficulty under which the novelists of our day labour seems to me to be this:
if they do not go into society, their books are unreadable;
if they do go into society, they have no time left for writing."
- Oscar Wilde: His Life and Wit
Ghost of Oscar Wilde visiting ...
Clemens and that irritible (and irritating) Hemingway
are both off, seduced each by their particular demons.
(Being a ghost is no laughing matter.)
I see where my friends are showering you with platitudes on how to write.
Let me instead urge you
to live before you write.
I visited Neil Gaiman just last night and talked of this very thing.
He nodded and told of a novice writer showing him a passage from his first novel.
The poor boy's writing reminded Neil of a beautiful, shallow pond, brilliant but with no depth.
The map is not the sea.
You must live life before you can write of it convincingly.
You need not be a libertine to write well.
All you must do is use whatever pain, angst, or despair you have experienced
as a touchstone to lend a semblance of soul to your characters.
But your griefs would be considered by most to be small you think.
I shall counter your thought with one of my friend, Clemens --
“Nothing that grieves us can be called little:
by the eternal laws of proportion
a child's loss of a doll and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size.”
How do you render
a semblance of soul
to your prose?