Caroline Gordon: On Writing

spotlight“I think that the whole book would gain by not being so stripped, so bare, by surrounding the core of action with some contrasting material. Suppose we think of a scene in your novel as a scene in a play. Any scene in any play takes place on some sort of set. I feel that the sets in your play are quite wonderful but you never let us see them. A spotlight follows every move the characters make and throws an almost blinding radiance on them, but it is a little like the spotlight a burglar uses when he is cracking a safe; it illuminates a small circle and the rest of the stage is in darkness most of the time.”  —Caroline Gordon to Flannery O’Connor, 13 November 1951  ~  from The Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Caroline Gordon


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