W.G. Sebald’s tips for writing – from his final fiction workshop, but lots here for writers of non-fiction to think about. Here’s the first section:
- Fiction should have a ghostlike presence in it somewhere, something omniscient. It makes it a different reality.
- Writing is about discovering things hitherto unseen. Otherwise there’s no point to the process.
- By all means be experimental, but let the reader be part of the experiment.
- Expressionism was really a kind of willful avant-gardism after the First World War, an attempt to wrench language into a form it does not normally have. It must have purpose, though. It hasn’t really occurred in English but is very common in German.
- Write about obscure things but don’t write obscurely.
- There is a certain merit in leaving some parts of your writing obscure.
- It’s hard to write something original about Napoleon, but one of his minor aides is another matter.