Writing isn’t brain surgery

Several of my friends have been recommending Libba Bray’s books to me, and I finally finished reading my first Libba Bray book today, A Great and Terrible Beauty. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but after that I couldn’t wait to keep reading. The book is set in the Victorian era and tells the story of a girl named Gemma Doyle who sees mysterious visions. (Of course it’s about much more than that, but that’s my one-sentence, spoiler-free plot summary.)

The relationships between the characters in the book are fascinating; people constantly surprise you in little ways, just as they do in real life. The plot is engaging, and the book asks some really interesting questions about women’s relationship with power.

In an interview, Libba Bray has shared some advice for people who want to “live a writerly life” (as one of my college English professors would say):

(1) Read everything. Read what interests and moves you. Read what challenges you. Read for pleasure. Read for craft. Read instead of watching reality TV. Just read. It might change your life. I know it has mine. (2) Live your life. Writing’s all about that, anyway. And no one’s living your life, seeing things the way you see them, but you. You are unique, and this is a beautiful, beautiful thing, grasshopper. (3) You can write about whatever you want, just don’t lie. (4) Have fun, for heaven’s sake! It’s not brain surgery. You won’t kill anyone if you choose the wrong words. You can just fix ’em later. Writing is power. You are in control of it. You are able to say whatever you need to say, long to say, must say. And that is an amazing feeling.

Thanks for reading this. Now go live your life! 🙂


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