Wonderfully talented and friendly Laura Stanfill is my guest blogger today. She is the editor of the soon-to-be-released Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life.
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Writing takes a certain amount of bravery.
Even if nobody knows you write, even if you never leave your house proclaiming “Behold, I am a writer!” to your friends and neighbors, the very act takes courage.
As writers, we must ignore other priorities in order to spend time trying to fill the blank page with our own imaginings, observations and how certain words can rub against each other in interesting ways.
Note I said “try.” Some writing sessions are slow, bogged-down, heavy-hearted slogs that, by the end, make you wish you had tackled the laundry instead of your novel. That’s where the bravery comes in again. It takes a lot of effort to get back to the page after a session like that.
There’s also another kind of bravery associated with fiction: being able to live vicariously through your characters. We may not come up with the perfect zinger when someone is rude, but we can create people who have the last word, who say what we wish we said. Our characters can challenge the status quo. Rise above their circumstances. Make choices we would be too afraid to make in real life.
Author Kristen Forbes discusses this topic in her essay, “Brave on the Page.” Her piece lent my collection of author interviews and essays its title, Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life.
As the editor, I waffled over titles for a while until I realized I should ask my critique group for help. They, unanimously, chose Brave on the Page from my list of possibilities.
It amazed me, after choosing the title, to discover that the word “brave” appeared nine times in the book, including in the foreword I had already written. “Fear” appears four times; “afraid,” fourteen times. “Shame,” seven times, all in Yuvi Zalkow’s interview about A Brilliant Novel in the Works, which features a writer-protagonist named Yuvi who’s afraid of writing a novel.
Because writing takes a certain amount of bravery.
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Laura Stanfill—novelist, freelance editor, award-winning journalist and Vassar grad—loves to promote other writers.
She is the founder of Forest Avenue Press, an independent publishing company based in Portland, Oregon, and the editor of the new writing book Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life.
UPDATE : Check out Laura’s book release announcement for prizes and fun!