Richard Bausch, lit hero, reprising tip #35

by eatonhamilton


painting: Jane Eaton Hamilton, Paris, 2014

Reprise # 35

“Every sentence contains what seems like a thousand possibilities, including not being used at all. Consider that possibility, too. Sometimes you’re striving for something that has stopped being about the story and has become more about what you can do with an English sentence. Trying to make art with the prose is no excuse to forget the importance of FUNCTION in the making of a good story–you can make a perfectly gorgeous array of consecutive pretty sentences that do not add up to anything like a story. And the story’s the thing. If the line won’t come pretty enough, or striking enough, maybe it shouldn’t be there to begin with. What must be there is everything that moves the story to its completion–all that, just that and no more. And I’m not talking about being spare, but about being economical, even if that economy is utilized in the large scale of a big novel.” -Richard Bausch