Thursday and Friday

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

I have a kind of holy trinity of writers who I would like to grow up to be.  They are, in no particular order, JRR Tolkien – the master of world-building, setting, plotting and invented history.  He’s also (IMO) not given enough credit for the amazing way that he can establish atmosphere and convey things that other people fail to even get close to – the numinous, the terrible, evil and elvishness.

Ursula LeGuin can do those things too.  I love the elegance of her prose, and the way she too can show the magical quality that underlies reality.  Like Tolkien, she seems to be able to grasp the ungraspable, and they both talk eloquently about the realm of … well, Tolkien would call it “Faerie” and UKL would probably call it “the Night” – the place out of which stories come, imagination comes, the place of archetypes and truth breathed through silver.  Unfortunately I’m not eloquent enough to talk about either of them sensibly, except to say that for me they are both on the cutting edge of subcreation, touching something so real that there are no words for it.

Patrick O’Brian doesn’t really go in for all that mystical stuff, but you can feel it powering his books.  He surfs along the breaking edge of it, and his writing is full of joy in writing itself – in the sparkle of interesting words.  But you can tell he’s plugged into reality underneath because you can taste and smell his world, and the people are so real they could walk off the page.  He’s the best at characterisation of the three of them, but they beat him on plotting 🙂

Completely immersive world building, I guess, is what they all have in common.  Their books are fuller of juice and taste and light and wonder than the everyday world.  That’s what I want to be able to do too.  (It’s also not a quality that features highly on most writing advice, which wants you to focus on plot and characterisation and sees setting as practically dispensable.)

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? 😉

Yes, I write romantic relationships.  I enjoy writing m/m romance and find I have more of a mental barrier towards m/f romance, although I’ve written a fair amount of Celeborn/Galadriel fanfic in my time. I’m willing to write explicit sex scenes, but find them very difficult to do and don’t particularly enjoy either writing or reading them.  I would probably rather have lots of UST and an eventual consummation which hovers somewhere around the R rating than always be having to go into details.

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