Read a lot. But read as a writer, to see how other writers are doing it. And make your knowledge of literature in English as deep and broad as you can. In workshops, writers are often told to read what is being written now, but if that is all you read, you are limiting yourself. You need to get a good overall sense of English literary history, so you can write out of that knowledge.— Theodora Goss
The most spectacular Theodora Goss quotes that will be huge advantage for your personal development
I'm writinng my first full-length novel, which is based on a novella I wrote called "The Mad Scientist's Daughter." I'm having a wonderful time with it, but of course it's presenting challenges as well. Stories always do, no matter what they are.
Perhaps it’s when you come to the realization that the point of life isn’t to be rich, or secure, or even to be loved - to be any of the things that people usually think is the point. The point of life is to live as deeply as possible, to experience fully. And that can be done in so many ways.
If you believe you have a voice and something to say, chances are you do, and the world needs you to do whatever you're drawn to do. So you should do it.
Learn as much as you can. Take every opportunity to learn about writing, whether it’s through classes, workshops, whatever is available to you. This may be difficult, because things like classes, workshops, writing programs, require time and money. But I say this honestly and somewhat harshly – if you’re not willing to prioritize your writing, perhaps you should do something else?
The only thing worth thinking about, when I write a story, is whether I like it, whether I want to write it, whether it excites me.
Nature inspires me continually. Today, I can look out my window and see the entire world covered with snow. It's like Narnia under the White Witch.
Sometimes you have to follow your uncommon sense.
In the Forest of Forgetting do you remember any romances? All the relationships in those stories are dark and twisted - people fall in love, but they really shouldn't have. There's even a story about a marriage, but it focuses on a woman who marries a bear!
It's appropriate to have magic in a love story, because magic is a sort of metaphor for what love feels like? When we fall in love, the world feels magical to us. It becomes an enchanted place.
I've heard some readers saying they wished the story was longer, and I completely understand that desire - we all like to sink into a nice, long novel.
Writing is an art like other arts. Dancers don't dance every once in a while. Musicians don't stop practicing. They are dedicated to what they do.
I'm used to writing fairy tales that can be somewhat dark, and the truth is that in fairy tales, romances are always problematic. They may end happily ever after, but someone's getting pushed into an oven or has blood in her shoe.
It's very difficult to put in the work unless you believe that what you're doing is significant in some way.
Now that The Thorn and the Blossom has come out and I'm done with my doctoral degree (yes, I'm finally Dr. Goss), I'm turning to longer projects.
That sort of effort has to come not only from the writer but also from a really innovative publisher like Quirk.
Writers: believe! And go do the work . . .
My uncommon sense told me to write this book [Turn and blossom], even though I was in the middle of making final revisions to my dissertation! Common sense would have said, finish the dissertation and get a good, solid academic position. But instead, I got to do something that no one else has done, because I don't think anyone has written a book quite like this one. And look at how beautiful it is!
I co-edited an anthology called Interfictions with Delia Sherman and wrote a short scholarly book on three women poets called Voices from Fairyland: The Fantastical Poems of Mary Coleridge, Charlotte Mew, and Sylvia Townsend Warner. So I've been busy, but I haven't had time to write a novel.
I actually pushed the boundaries on how long a book like this [The Thorn and the Blossom] can be. The original plan called for two 7,500 word stories, and I turned in two 10,000 word stories.
I think part of my purpose in this life is to talk about magic, and to make it.
What writers do - everything comes from inside, from experiences of the world that we have digested. And then we turn it into silk, or stories.
So much work went into this book [ "The Thorn & The Blossom"] - you can probably tell from looking at the art and overall design.
The book[ The Thorn and The Blossom] is a love story about two people, Brendan and Evelyn, who meet in a small town in Cornwall where Evelyn has gone on vacation and Brendan is working in his father's bookstore. The story is told from both perspectives, Brendan's and Evelyn's.
I loved writing something I'd never written before, and I wanted to write not just about "true love" but also a human relationship.
Jorge Luis Borges wrote a poem when he was in his 80s about one day writing the book that would justify him. This was long after he had become one of the great masters, a writer everyone looks up to and reveres. As artists, I don't think we ever see ourselves as done. We always think we're at the beginning . . .
If you’re a writer, your first duty, a duty you owe to yourself and your readers, and to your writing itself, is to become wonderful. To become the best writer you can possibly be.
Delia Sherman once told me that you never learn to write a story.
You only learn to write the story you are currently writing. You have to learn how to write the next story all over again. And she's absolutely right.
I see so many talented writers who have difficulties with that.
And if you don't believe it's important, you won't put in the work you need to.
If readers like The Thorn and the Blossom, which I would call literary fantasy, I think they would like books such as Elizabeth Hand's Mortal Love, Catherynne Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen.
The editor, Stephen Segal, actually called me with the idea of creating an accordion book [ "The Thorn & The Blossom"], and asked if I could write a story for it. I was so intrigued! I immediately knew that it had to be a love story told from the points of view of the two main characters. Right away, I started working on a proposal. And once I had my main characters, Brendan and Evelyn, it was as though they started telling me their stories.
Understanding what is going on in the world today inspires me in a negative sense because there's so much about it that I don't like - political stupidity, environmental degradation, etc. And that makes me want to change it, to make a difference in the world.
When we tell stories about things that are important - love, fear, beauty - we change the way people think about the world. Writers are, or should be, truth-tellers even when the stories themselves are fantasy.
I would tell myself to get more sleep! Believe it or not, I wrote the book while finishing my PhD in English literature. It was wonderful to get away from doing literary scholarship by writing this mythical love story. I think so much of my own love for books and scholarship comes through in The Thorn and the Blossom.
If you look at the natural world, really look at it, it's always magical.
I'm sure scientists would point to specific brain chemicals, but I think love is actually a kind of magic. It's what allows things to happen, people to be creative, the world to change. Great things come out of love - for other people, for art, for beauty.
I talked on my blog recently about "uncommon sense.
" Common sense is called "common" because it reflects cultural consensus. It's common sense to get a good job and save for retirement. But I think we all also have an "uncommon sense," an individual voice that tells us what we're meant to do.
Write all the time. I believe in writing every day, at least a thousand words a day. We have a strange idea about writing: that it can be done, and done well, without a great deal of effort. Dancers practice every day, musicians practice every day, even when they are at the peak of their careers – especially then. Somehow, we don’t take writing as seriously. But writing – writing wonderfully – takes just as much dedication.
I put that part of myself into both Brendan and Evelyn [from The Thorn and the Blossom] - as well as some of my own anxieties about the academic life!
The Thorn and the Blossom isn't just a love story.
It's about two people who decide what they actually want to do artistically, despite discouragement. In some ways, that's just as important as the romance.
I loved writing something people usually have - miscommunication, for example.
Now that I've written a romance, I'm sure I'll write more: it's fascinating to put people together and see what happens, how they fall in love and what that means in their lives.
The Thorn and The Blossom can be read from either side - you can choose whether to read it from Brendan's or Evelyn's perspective first, and each one will give you a different sense of what happens in the story.
Accept criticism. If you do not offer your work for criticism and accept that criticism, meaning give it serious thought and attention, then you will never improve.
It happened the way I come up with any story, which is that I took elements of my own life and put them into the story, but in a very mixed-up way.
I worry very much that people won't like it, or will think it's simply silly.
But I have a post-it note above my desk that says "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" And if I weren't afraid, I would do a poetry collection.
I'm working on a poetry collection for Papaveria Press .
It fills me with trepidation - poetry is something I'm much more self-conscious about than prose.
Art inspires me. Looking at art in a museum, listening to music, reading the works of other writers.
Believe in the importance of your art.
The book itself [The Thorn and The Blossom] is bound accordion-style: it has no spine, so it can open in either direction, and it's in a slipcase.
The appeal of writing a romance was that I'd never written one before the The Thorn and The Blossom.