Sunday, January 5, 2014

Writing Advice: Accept the Pacing ~ Umberto Eco on Staying the Course

By Wendy Murray

Umberto Eco, born January 5, 1932
Today is the birthday of one of my favorite writers: Italian novelist, Umberto Eco (born1932; he is 82 today). Among other things, he wrote the dazzling mystery novel set in an abbey during 14th-century Italy titled The Name of the Rose.

At the end of the book,  the author included personal advice about both the writing process as well as the reading:

". . . . after reading the manuscript, my friends and editors suggested I abbreviate the first hundred pages, which they found difficult and demanding. Without thinking twice, I refused, because, as I insisted, if somebody wanted to the enter the abbey and live there for seven days, he [or she] had to accept the abbey's own pace. If he could not, he would never manage to read the whole book. Therefore those first hundred pages are like a penance or an initiation, and if someone doesn't like them, so much the worse for them. He can stay at the foot of the hill.
Entering a novel is like going on a climb in the mountains: you have to learn the rhythm of respiration, acquire the pace; otherwise you stop right away."

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