30. mars 2010
Om å lære å skrive
Bare et lite apropos til forfatterutdannelse (jfr. PS-et i innlegget nedenfor):
«I find it both fascinating and disconcerting when I discover yet another person who believes that writing can’t be taught. Frankly, I don’t understand this point of view.
I’ve long believed that there are two distinct but equally important halves to the writing process: one of these is related to art; the other is related to craft. Obviously, art cannot be taught. No one can give another human being the soul of an artist, the sensibility of a writer, or the passion to put words upon paper that is the gift and the curse of those who fashion poetry and prose. But it’s ludicrous to suggest and shortsighted to believe that the fundamentals of fiction can’t be part of one’s education.
To believe this is akin to believing that no artistic medium can be taught. To believe that is to believe that no artistic medium has tools and techniques which the practitioner learns and then hones before she takes the leap from craft into art. Yet those who argue that writing can’t be taught would probably be the first to agree that the basic principles of sculpture, oil painting, watercolour, musical composition etc., ought to be dipped into before someone thinks herself a great master in any of those fields. Those very same people would also agree that everyone from Michelangelo to Johann Sebastian Bach probably had a bit of schooling in the field in which they excelled.
So, frankly, is the case for writing. Yet, for some reason, this logic tends to be thrown out of the window when it comes to the novel, to the poem, to the short story. It is indeed so much the case that I’ve discovered in my book-related travels over the past fifteen years entire countries where people honestly believe that writing is a mysterious process that you either understand intuitively or do not.
Craft is the point. Not art, which, as I’ve said, cannot be taught. Nor passion, which also cannot be taught. Nor discipline, which is essential but which, alas, also cannot be part of anyone’s coursework. Pure craft will not, of course, make someone Shakespeare. It won’t make someone William Faulkner or Jane Austen. But it can and will serve as a guide, as the soil into which a budding writer can plant the seed of her idea in order to nurture it into a story.
Here’s what I tell my students on the first day when I teach one of my creative courses.
You will be published if you possess three qualities: talent, passion, and discipline.
You will probably be published it you possess two of these three qualities: either a combination of talent and discipline or a combination of passion and discipline.
You will likely be published if you possess neither talent nor passion but still have the discipline. Just go to the bookstore and pick up a few ‘notable’ titles and you’ll see what I mean.
But if all you possess is talent or passion, if all you possess is talent and passion, you will not be published. The likelihood is you will never be published. And if by some miracle you are published, it will probably never happen again.»
Elizabeth George: Write Away
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