Monday, 14 September 2020

"I may run an elevator, but I'll never write a hack story"

"[Frank Belknap Long] has stopped looking for the real spirit and essence of a work of fiction, but has begun to appraise fiction according to the popular, commercial standard, laying favourable stress on such meretricious tricks as plot twists, exaggerated dramatic tableaux, jack-in-the-box climaxes, snappy dialogue, scene-shifting pageantry and all the other superficial, artificial devices."

The good folks at the H P Lovecraft Historical Society regularly read and discuss his letters, and I found this one on the writing process particularly interesting. Listen from 8m 30s in, as the first part is housekeeping between HPL and his agent. But when he gets onto writing, and how success in writing (as opposed to success at selling books) can only be measured against your personal standards of the craft -- then it gets fascinating.