As I went over to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner’s Sons, April 1924. (Übersetzung von Kai Kilian: “Als ich hinüberging, um mich zu verabschieden, sah ich, dass der Ausdruck von Verwirrung in Gatsbys Gesicht zurückgekehrt war, als ob ihm ein leiser Zweifel gekommen wäre über das Glück, das er gegenwärtig empfand. Fast fünf Jahre! Selbst noch an jenem Nachmittag muss es Momente gegeben haben, in denen Daisy hinter seine Träume zurückfiel - nicht aus eigener Schuld, sondern wegen der ungeheuren Lebendigkeit seiner Illusion. Sie war über daisy, ja über alles hinausgewachsen. Er hatte sich ihr mit schöpferischer Leidenschaft hingegeben, indem er ihr beständig etwas hinzufügte, sie mit jeder leuchtenden Feder schmückte, die ihm über den Weg schwebte. Kein Maß an Feuer oder Frische reicht aus, um es mit dem aufzunehmen, was ein Mann in seinem gespenstischen Herzen bewahrt. “. In: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Der große Gatsby. Anaconda Verlag, 2011, S.118) 

And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner’s Sons, April 1924. (Übersetzung von Kai Kilian: “Und ich mag große Partys. Sie sind so intim. Auf kleinen Partys kann man sich nirgends zurückziehen.“. In: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Der große Gatsby. Anaconda Verlag, 2011, S.63)

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.

—F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner’s Sons, April 1924. (Übersetzung von Kai Kilian: “Als ich noch junger und verwundbarer war, gab mein Vater mir einen Rat, der mir seither nicht aus dem Kopf geht. “Wann immer du glaubst, jemand kritisieren zu müssen”, sagte er zu mir, “denk daran, dass unter all den Menschen auf dieser Welt niemand solche Vorzüge genossen hat wie du.”“. In: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Der große Gatsby. Anaconda Verlag, 2011, S.9) 

"A Monster Calls", a book written by Patrick Ness using material and the idea left behind by Siobhan Dowd, who sadly died of Breast Cancer before finishing the story of a teenage boy meeting a Giant Monster in his garden, has a lot of - in my opinion fitting and beautiful - illustrations by Jim Kay. In an interview with the Guardian, after the book received the Carnegie- and the Kate Greenaway-medal, the author and the illustrator shared information about the working process and ideas behind the collaborations, f.e. how both of them haven’t even met before finishing the book-project: We didn’t work directly at all. In fact, we didn’t even meet until it was all over. What happened is that we worked through an art director who kept us both on track. Jim would send drawings to Ben, who’d send them to me, and I’d give feedback to Ben, who’d send it on – more effectively phrased, no doubt – to Jim. It’s a good process, and I don’t think an uncommon one, because I tend to think that a writer and an illustrator, left to their own devices, would happily wander far off into Tangentland and possibly never return. Ben kept us both focussed and on task and was always considering the book as a whole.” Or how Jim Kay chose a visual style that fits the story perfectly: Well, I think you should change the technique to fit the brief. With regards to the colour; I think in black and white. I adore old black and white films, anything by David Lean, and I’d just been given a copy of the 1922 film Nosferatu, which helped. I prefer to work starting from a black canvas and pull the light out, which makes for a much darker image. The important thing was to give the reader the room to create their own characters and images in their mind, I was just putting suggestions of the Monster and Conor in there to help them along the way; darkness and ambiguity allow the reader to illuminate the scenes internally I think. […] In truth, I was lacking in confidence with my own drawing when I started the book, so I did ANYTHING to adopt ready-made ink splats, marks and splodges. I collected hundreds of them and arranged them like a collage, it was a way of escaping my old habits, because when you draw in the traditional sense your “handwriting” inevitably appears, and sometimes you don’t want that. I pulled things from skips and printed from them, I ran anything I could find through a print press to give me textures and patterns I could use. It felt like someone else was creating the images, which helped alleviate the pressure, and constantly threw up new ideas.” 

(source for the pictures: The Book Smugglers | Estella’s Revenge | Deadcades | The Guardian

'A Monster Calls' to Hit Theaters in Fall 2016

I have two things to say about the Hollywood-Reporter article. 

1. “A Monster Calls” is not part of the “Chaos Walking Trilogy”…

2. Quote: “visually spectacular drama” about a young boy who attempts to deal with his mother’s illness and bullying at the hands of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales.” - I’m sorry, maybe you had another reading-experience, but Conor’s not escaping, he’s trying to deal with something he’s neither emotionally nor psychologically equipped for in a magical, maybe fantastical way. 

How I experienced “A Monster Calls”? I “liked” it. It took me two days to read, I’ve finished it at 2:56 o’clock at night and I was crying like a baby. I was emotionally attached to the characters, I could feel Conor’s depression, sadness, anger, rage, but also his frustration. And I cursed Siobhan Dowd (Not really.) and Patrick Ness for making me such a “mess” after finishing it. And I thanked them, for writing a book with a character you can feel with. For writing a book that made me cry. For writing such a good, interesting, honest, fantastical, mind-blowing book. 

(via The Booker | The Hollywood-Reporter)

INTERVIEWER

What do you think of e-books and Amazon’s Kindle?

BRADBURY

Those aren’t books. You can’t hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. A computer does not smell. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell. You have to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and you walk with it. And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn’t do that for you. I’m sorry.

(source: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No.203. In: The Paris Review, Issue No.192, Spring 2010) 

INTERVIEWER

In Zen in the Art of Writing, you wrote that early on in your career you made lists of nouns as a way to generate story ideas: the Jar, the Cistern, the Lake, the Skeleton. Do you still do this? 

BRADBURY

Not as much, because I just automatically generate ideas now. But in the old days I knew I had to dredge my subconscious, and the nouns did this. I learned this early on. Three things are in your head: First, everything you have experienced from the day of your birth until right now. Every single second, every single hour, every single day. Then, how you reacted to those events in the minute of their happening, whether they were disastrous or joyful. Those are two things you have in your mind to give you material. Then, separate from the living experiences are all the art experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve learned from other writers, artists, poets, film directors, and composers. So all of this is in your mind as a fabulous mulch and you have to bring it out. How do you do that? I did it by making lists of nouns and then asking, What does each noun mean? You can go and make up your own list right now and it would be different than mine. The night. The crickets. The train whistle. The basement. The attic. The tennis shoes. The fireworks. All these things are very personal. Then, when you get the list down, you begin to word-associate around it. You ask, Why did I put this word down? What does it mean to me? Why did I put this noun down and not some other word?Do this and you’re on your way to being a good writer. You can’t write for other people. You can’t write for the left or the right, this religion or that religion, or this belief or that belief. You have to write the way you see things. I tell people, Make a list of ten things you hate and tear them down in a short story or poem. Make a list of ten things you love and celebrate them. When I wrote Fahrenheit 451 I hated book burners and I loved libraries. So there you are.

INTERVIEWER

After you’ve made your list of nouns, where do you go from there? 

BRADBURY

I begin to write little pensées about the nouns. It’s prose poetry. It’s evocative. It tries to be metaphorical. Saint-John Perse published several huge volumes of this type of poetry on beautiful paper with lovely type. His books of poetry had titles like RainsSnowsWinds,Seamarks. I could never afford to buy his books because they must have cost twenty or thirty dollars—and this was about fifty years ago. But he influenced me because I read him in the bookstore and I started to write short, descriptive paragraphs, two hundred words each, and in them I began to examine my nouns. Then I’d bring some characters on to talk about that noun and that place, and all of a sudden I had a story going. I used to do the same thing with photographs that I’d rip out of glossy magazines. I’d take the photographs and I’d write little prose poems about them.

Certain pictures evoke in me things from my past. When I look at the paintings of Edward Hopper, it does this. He did those wonderful townscapes of empty cafes, empty theaters at midnight with maybe one person there. The sense of isolation and loneliness is fantastic. I’d look at those landscapes and I’d fill them with my imagination. I still have all those pensées. This was the beginning of bringing out what was me.  

(source: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No.203. In: The Paris Review, Issue No.192, Spring 2010) 

INTERVIEWER

Do you keep a tight work schedule? 

BRADBURY

My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this. 

INTERVIEWER

Where do you do your writing? 

BRADBURY

I can work anywhere. I wrote in bedrooms and living rooms when I was growing up with my parents and my brother in a small house in Los Angeles. I worked on my typewriter in the living room, with the radio and my mother and dad and brother all talking at the same time. Later on, when I wanted to write Fahrenheit 451, I went up to UCLA and found a basement typing room where, if you inserted ten cents into the typewriter, you could buy thirty minutes of typing time. 

INTERVIEWER

Have you ever used a computer? 

BRADBURY

Up until my stroke, I used a typewriter. An IBM Selectric. Never a computer. A computer’s a typewriter. Why would I need another typewriter? I have one. 

INTERVIEWER

Most would argue that a computer makes revising a whole lot easier. Not to mention spell-check. 

BRADBURY

I’ve been writing for seventy years, if I don’t know how to spell now . . . 

INTERVIEWER

Do you keep a notebook? 

BRADBURY

No. As soon as I get an idea, I write a short story, or I start a novel, or I do a poem. So I have no need for a notebook. I do keep files of ideas and stories that didn’t quite work a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. I come back to them later and I look through the titles. It’s like a father bird coming with a worm. You look down at all these hungry little beaks—all these stories waiting to be finished—and you say to them, Which of you needs to be fed? Which of you needs to be finished today? And the story that yells the loudest, the idea that stands up and opens its mouth, is the one that gets fed. And I pull it out of the file and finish it within a few hours. 

(source: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No.203. In: The Paris Review, Issue No.192, Spring 2010) 

INTERVIEWER

Do the novel and short story present different problems to you? 

BRADBURY

Yes, the problem of the novel is to stay truthful. The short story, if you really are intense and you have an exciting idea, writes itself in a few hours. I try to encourage my student friends and my writer friends to write a short story in one day so it has a skin around it, its own intensity, its own life, its own reason for being. There’s a reason why the idea occurred to you at that hour anyway, so go with that and investigate it, get it down. Two or three thousand words in a few hours is not that hard. Don’t let people interfere with you. Boot ’em out, turn off the phone, hide away, get it done. If you carry a short story over to the next day you may overnight intellectualize something about it and try to make it too fancy, try to please someone.

But a novel has all kinds of pitfalls because it takes longer and you are around people, and if you’re not careful you will talk about it. The novel is also hard to write in terms of keeping your love intense. It’s hard to stay erect for two hundred days. So, get the big truth first. If you get the big truth, the small truths will accumulate around it. Let them be magnetized to it, drawn to it, and then cling to it. 

(source: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No.203. In: The Paris Review, Issue No.192, Spring 2010) 

INTERVIEWER

Why do you write science fiction? 

RAY BRADBURY

Science fiction is the fiction of ideas. Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves. Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.

[…]

INTERVIEWER

Does science fiction offer the writer an easier way to explore a conceptual premise? 

BRADBURY

…. I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual. 

(source: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No.203. In: The Paris Review, Issue No.192, Spring 2010)