Category Archives: Humour

How to Steal like an Artist?

Thanks to Nino Leitner for tweeting this link about learning how to create and learn to find your voice.  For me that seems to be a never ending journey.

The post How to steal like an Artist is great, in it Austin Kleon talks about how you need to saturate yourself with everything that fascinates you and use it to make something that in turn you like.  His thoughts stem from what seems to be his basic principle: “Creativity is subtraction” among other ideas.  Basically you are the remix, and you are your art.  I highly recommend taking a look at it.

Oddly, I just read something about subtraction in David Mamet‘s book On Directing Film. In it, he in turns quotes Hemingway: “Write the Story, take out the good lines, and see if it still works.”

He goes on later in the next few pages to talk about how you tell a story and what to leave out to ensure the narrative moves forward, to illustrate this he quotes Sergei Eisenstein – that narrative should be “a succession of images juxtaposed so that the contrast between these images moves the story forward in the mind of the audience.”  In other words “Portmanteau“.

Confused?  This just all reminds me of a book I read by Steve Martin.

Stolen from Steve Martin‘s book Pure Drivel

From Chapter 2: Writing is easy.

Writer’s Block: A Myth

Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol. Sure a writer can get stuck for a while, but when that happens to real authors, they simply go out and get an “as told to.” The alternative is to hire yourself out as an “as heard from,” thus taking all the credit. It is also much easier to write when you have someone to “bounce” with. This is someone to sit in a room with and exchange ideas. It is good if the last name of the person you choose to bounce with is Salinger. I know a certain early-twentieth-century French writer, whose initials were M.P., who could have used a good bounce person. If he had, his title might have been the more correct “Remembering Past Things” instead of the clumsy one he used. The other trick I use when I have a momentary stoppage is virtually foolproof, and I’m happy to pass it along. Go to an already published novel and find a sentence you absolutely adore. Copy it down in your manuscript. Usually that sentence will lead you naturally to another sentence; pretty soon your own ideas will start to flow. If they don’t, copy down the next sentence. You can safely use up to three sentences of someone else’s work–unless they’re friends; then you can use two. The odds of being found out are very slim, and even if you are, there’s no jail time.