Friday, 15 January 2010


First a drink for the host, cos it's her BIRTHDAY!!! Happy Birthday to Lauri Kubuitsile - and many more of them.
Today, Short Circuit makes the journey all the way to Botswana, where it and I stay a while chez writer Lauri, on her blog Thoughts from Botswana.
Lauri asked me some terrific questions – here is one example, and one reply:
TFB: At the beginning and the end of the book you include this quote from Faulkner-
“Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. But when it comes right, it is the best feeling in the world.”
Why is this so important to you? Doesn’t this run head-on into the idea of writing a textbook on short story writing?
VANESSA: Exactly. It sure does. I think there has to be an element of total bewilderment allied to times of confidence/stubbornness if you are going to be a good writer. The swing between confidence and self-doubt sets up a dynamic that drives you onwards. Without the self-doubt we’d never bother to try to get better. Without the confidence in ourselves and our work we’d never have the faith to send work out.
Short Circuit is not a didactic ‘do this or else’ sort of book! The whole idea is to get away from the type of book that says ‘do this and you will become a writer fast’ and gives the budding craftsman/woman the impression that if they follow that ‘law’, they will cut a corner and become a great writer uber-quick. There is no substitute for writing and writing and writing, and reading and reading – and it takes a long time to get it right. I agree with the ‘teach yourself by your own mistakes’ quote.
But having a team of great writers and teachers all sharing tips and thoughts with you can only help on the journey – save a few of the pitfalls, sharpen your act, keep you on the straight and narrow, save you making fundamentally silly errors.

To read the rest, get thee over to Botswana, via Thoughts from Botswana, HERE and remember to leave a message to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lauri before you leave.

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