Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 23

Since the day my first novel was published in 1992, I have told people that writing was like surfing. The hardest part was paddling out there, the longest part was waiting for the right set and the best part was getting up on the wave. You live for the wave, and you wish you could ride it forever. That was writing.

The only problem with that was I had never ridden a real wave. I was simply riding a metaphor: When the writing is good the story surrounds you like a swirling barrel of water. It's all you can think about. Your desire to stay in it wipes out all the rest of the world. I figured that's got to be what surfing is like, so that's what I told people writing was like.

That explanation worked all right for me until I turned 50 a couple of summers ago and decided to see if I'd had it right. I went to Maui with my family to learn how to surf. I can't say I ever saw the inside of a tube, but I rode enough soft waves on a soft top longboard to know that all along I had been on to something with that metaphor.
Michael Connelly