Tag Archives: Larry Sutin

The structure of a creative work is discovered, not imposed.  Consider the architect’s mantra, “Form follows function.”  A skyscraper exists because of land limitations, population density, and the nature of business relations; its inherent qualities (its purpose, its limitations) distinguish it from a bungalow or a Carnegie library.  Likewise each piece of prose has a unique being—a focus, an exploration, a heartbeat.  We don’t know when we start if our subject has sharp corners or curves, if it’s solid or fluid, if it needs many compartments or just one.  We discover the container that will hold our material as we discover the material. How distressing!  Particularly when writers set out on longer projects, they want—even need—a structure to help them get going.  But nothing is more deadly to creativity than a strict plan.  An outline, a story-board or any scheme will only serve a creative writer so long as he…

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