The novelist’s secret

Patricia Highsmith put it best.

The secret? The novelist’s secret?

It’s not literary skills or narrative technique. It’s not technical prowess or magnificent plotting.

For Highsmith the secret is the novelist’s individuality, their personality. It’s up to the novelist to express that which makes them different from everyone else. That which separates them. (Ironically it’s this separateness that ultimately connects the novelist and the reader.)

There’s nothing magical to it. Quite the opposite. By exhibiting yourself as openly and truthfully as possible, you become as real as possible. This is the freedom you seek. The freedom to be you. To be all of you. Unexpurgated, uncensored, undiminished. 

Far from toying with literary language, your aim is to reveal what is hidden in you.

To reveal your true self.

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