On fictions as machines

by look i have opinions

“What the would-be writer of ‘serious’ fiction (who would relegate plot and story to a place at the end of a long line headed by diction and that smooth flow of language which most college writing instructors mistakenly equate with style) seems to forget is that novels are engines, just as cars are engines; a Rolls Royce without an engine might as well be the world’s most luxurious begonia pot, and a novel in which there is no story becomes nothing but a curiosity, a little mental game.”

—Stephen King in Danse Macabre

“I like William Carlos Williams[‘] description of a poem: ‘a small (or large) machine made of words.’ Often I’m not sure what kind of machine I’m building until I start putting the thing together and fire it up. Sometimes I find I’m trying to cram toaster parts into a particle accelerator. Sometimes it works and I end up with a kick-ass toaster. Sometimes it’s a disaster and I make a super-slow accelerator.”

—Jason Marak (x)

 I’m pretty sure Roald Dahl said something about writing a long sentence axel followed by the cogwheel of a short sentence—and making it twirl. Can’t find the quote though.

Advertisements