Awe and Rain (quotes about writing)

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it
is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.“
E.L. Doctorow

Ramsey Campbell on AWE!!!!

(While Campbell writes
horror, it IS possible to use the same template for AWE while writing

(My book) ”Midnight Sun I’m fond of as an honourable
failure. It’s so far short of what I wanted it to be that in some ways I can’t
even begin to consider that. It lacks a cosmic scope; a sense of awe that I was
trying to achieve for once in my career – the sort of thing you find in H.P.
Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space. But it’s as good as I’ve been able
to do in that area. Give me another twenty years and I’ll have another shot!
Midnight Sun was going back to Lovecraft’s roots rather than my own: that cosmic
vision was something that I found in Lovecraft. There was an American review
which compared it favourably with Algernon Blackwood and I suppose you can’t
expect better than that.”

At this website
( ) authors were asked,
“Where does horror stand at the start of the new century?”

Campbell’s response:

“While I won’t presume to know the future of
horror fiction, I don’t mind expressing my hopes for it. I very much hope it
will return to its roots, both in the classics of the genre and in the wider
field of literature. It’s worth remembering how many of the great tales of
terror were the work of authors who didn’t specialize in the genre. When I came
into the field in the mid-50s two things were commoner than now: horror
anthologies would include tales written by writers better known in the
mainstream — Faulkner, Balzac, Graham Greene come immediately to mind — and
mainstream anthologies would include horror fiction. I don’t say this to
denigrate the specialists; on the contrary, writers as different as M. R. James
and Lovecraft, as Leiber and Aickman regarded themselves as writing, or trying
to writer literature. These days too many writers seem to know only their own
field, which then tends to implode. I believe there is no genre that can not be
literature, and it’s time more of ours set itself that ambition. One
quotation…I’ve quoted it before, but it strikes me as among the most important
comments ever made about our field…comes from an essay on horror by critic
David Aylward in the defunct Canadian journal BORDERLANDS: “Writers
[of supernatural fiction] who used to strive for awe and achieve fear, now
strive for fear and achieve only disgust.” Since he wrote that, we’ve seen a
number of writers appear to strive only to be more disgusting than one another,
but I doubt their popularity will last. Traditionally the field has reacted
against excess by rediscovering restraint and subtlety, and I hope it will
again. Add to those qualities the will to evoke awe, and you have the potential
for fine work…


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