(The first in a series of writing tips you don’t need and didn’t ask for, but are going to get.)
Writing Tip #1
In a piece in the New York Times, Colm Toibin writes gorgeously about ruthlessness. He doesn’t quite frame it that way, but that’s what he’s talking about:
I have been writing about writers and their families so it is strange that the idea of rights versus responsibilities does not preoccupy me. I feel that I have only rights, and that my sole responsibility is to the reader, and is to make things work for someone I will never meet. I feel just fine about ignoring or bypassing the rights of people I have known and loved to be rendered faithfully, or to be left in peace, and out of novels. It is odd that the right these people have to be left alone, not transformed, seems so ludicrous.
He goes on to talk about various writers and their depredations on those they knew and loved, which transgressions may have had the possibility to seriously damage relationships. These writers—as should any writer—ignored that possibility for the greater possibility that stealing that moment or idea, or twisting that fact might make for better fiction.