Masterclass Monday: Ursula K. Le Guin Reminds Us To Throw Out The Rulebook
I first began reading Ursula K. Le Guin with The Lathe of Heaven, and from there I moved on to the Earthsea series, devouring book after book of fantastical worlds and incredible civilizations and compelling characters. She was a master at world-building, society-building and relationship-building.
And like any good Sci-Fi writer, she’ll tell you to hell with the rules, write the story that’s in your head. Use exposition if you need to. Write about fantastical stuff outside the realm of personal knowledge if it makes a good story.
I found a great compilation of some of her best quotes on the subject of writing, and this one is one of my personal favorites:
“But when people say, ‘Did you always want to be a writer?’, I have to say no! I always was a writer. I didn’t want to be a writer and lead the writer’s life and be glamorous and go to New York. I just wanted to do my job writing, and to do it really well.”
Just because she wants you to be free and creative with your plot doesn’t mean she wants you to throw out all the rules. Some things are just common sense, like punctuation, judicious use of adverbs and adjectives, and the necessity of beta readers.
Like Ursula, I have never not been writing. I can only hope to be as good at it and devoted to it as she was.