Birth of a Story

I was thumbing through my well-worn of Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing the other day when I came across these lines:

"The stories, the plays, were born in a yelping litter. I had but to get out of their way."

Bradbury was talking about a series of tales set in Ireland, which he had sworn he had no interest in writing about. He found it a dank, depressing place during the time he spent there. But something tamped the seed down deep inside him, where it took root without his knowledge.

Stories happen like that sometimes, sneaking up when the would-be author least expects them. When they've had time to develop in the darkness, they do tend to come all at once, in a rush. When they're forced to light before their time, however, you end up with a painful forceps delivery, inch by bloody inch.

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