Monday, March 3, 2008


The shelves at Barnes & Noble are bulging with books on writing, and many of them are useful, depending on where you are in your writing life. Then there are those special few books on writing that are useful no matter where you are in your writing life. From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler is one of those books for me.

If you are not familiar with Robert Olen Butler, check out his Pulitzer prize winning collection of short stories A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain. Those stories are full of sensual detail that plug right into your emotions and make you feel. And isn't that what it's all about? Feeling?

What Butler urges writers to do is let their unconscious speak. Think about what you, in your heart of hearts, want more than anything. Forget about the market and what you think you should write. Write from where you dream.

Me, I dream of this little cabin in the woods. And what happens inside.

"Yearning is always part of fictional character. In fact, one way to understand plot is that it represents the dynamics of desire. It's the dynamics of desire that is at the heart of narrative and plot."

- Robert Olen Butler


  1. Hmm, the book you mention sounds interesting. I think that I'll look it up.

    NathanKP - The Ink Weaver Collection - Writing Showcase Blog

  2. It is definitely worth a read! Butler also takes you through the process of writing a short story on his website (the link on this post). Apparently he is a fine teacher.


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