by John R. Erickson
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From Chapter 3 -- Hank the Cowdog: A Brief History
"Writers write, and professional writers must develop the habit of writing in a disciplined manner. And so it was that, without fanfare, I made the decision to behave as though I were actually a writer.
"Much of my motivation came from the fact that I had married a woman with high standards. I knew that Kris would never be proud if I continued on my course of being a careless lout. Her mere presence in my life forced me to reach beyond myself, and in the process of trying to conceal from her what I actually was, I became what I should have been."
From Chapter 7 -- Writing as a Vocation
"A tormented genius sees himself as an isolated individual, laboring to satisfy his own personal needs. I look at myself as a part of several communities that form a whole network of overlapping vocations. I am an author, but also a husband to my wife, a father to my children, a grandfather to my grandchildren, a rancher in a small community of ranchers, a member of a church, and a citizen of the United States.
"All those living relationships contribute to my work as an author, and if I fail at one of them, it is difficult or impossible for me to succeed in my vocation as an author. Francis Schaeffer is right: 'Even for the great artist, the most crucial work of art is his life.'"
From Chapter 10 -- Story Structure: Beauty, Justice, and Fun
"A plumber must run a sewer line downhill, a carpenter must build a sturdy house, and writers must find justice in their stories. Structure grows around justice, like iron filings forming geometric patterns around the invisible force fields of a magnet. If we have no expectations of justice, there is no force that will tug events into a structured story."
Who is John Erickson?