Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: The Sandpaper Touch of Art

This week I am reading Chapter Two of Jane Yolen's book "Take Joy: a book for writers". 

Chapter Two is called "The Mystery That is Writing" and asks the question, "where do stories come from?"

Many of us receive inspiration from everyday experiences, headlines in the newspaper, funny things kids say, etc.  But is this enough?

Jane Yolen states that interesting anecdotes are not fiction by themselves.  "They need the sandpaper touch of art."  Fiction is more than "a recitation of facts or author embellishments.  It is reality surprised.  It shakes us up and makes us see familiar things in new ways."

Writers Weigh In...What are your thoughts on this idea of the "sandpaper touch of art" and Yolen's idea of what fiction is?


  1. I like the sound of that! Somehow this reminds me of a George Eliot quote: “A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” Maybe we should treat our work as we would treat a friend too!

    1. Oooh, that's beautiful, Julie! I like that! Treat your writing as you would treat a friend. :)

  2. Visuals evoke thoughts and emotions...what good would a picture book be without visuals?
    I'm not clear on what she means, but, this is what I gain from her quote. Good thoughts!

  3. The fact that she would say "the sandpaper touch of art" is exactly why she is such an amazing writer! And I agree - real life has to be tempered to become fiction!

  4. These posts are making me want to read the book, which I own. I love the notion of "reality surprised."