Frederich Nietzsche on what it takes to become a good novelist
There is no doubt that Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) is among the most influential of philosophers during the modern era, especially in terms of his contributions to existentialism and post-existentialism. However, he also has much of value to say about the creative process and, in Human, All too Human (1878), offers excellent advice on how to become a good novelist. You will understand why I share this passage after you read it:
“The recipe for becoming a good novelist…is easy to give, but to carry it out presupposes qualities one is accustomed to overlook when one says ‘I do not have enough talent.’ One has only to make a hundred or so sketches for novels, none longer than two pages but of such distinctness that every word in them is necessary; one should wrote down anecdotes every day until one has learnt how to give them the most pregnant and effective form; one should be tireless in collecting and describing human types and characters; one should above all relate things to others and listen to others relate, keeping one’s eyes and ears open for the effect produced one those present, one should travel like a landscape painter or costume designer….one should, finally, reflect on the motives of human actions, disdain no signpost for instruction about them and be a collector of these things by day and night. One should continue this many-sided exercise for some ten years; what is then created in the workshop…will be fit to go into the world.”
Note: The bold italics used for emphasis are mine.
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