Things Italo Calvino Said About Writing That No One Bothered Taking Down

-Imagine yourself as the main character, and only the main character. When meeting every character that that character comes across, act exactly how YOU would act. If your character should cross a butcher, give that butcher ten pence and be on with it, if your character sees his most hated enemy, have a quarrel. If your character meets a mirror, have him stand idly for hours kissing the mirror and stroking the crotch area until he cums all over the reflection.

For Practice: How would your character respond to a ghost!?

-The dramatic conflict may be the most important part of any tale. It’s why the reader reads. It may be why the viewer watches. I have no idea why people listen to poems.

-Try this: For one whole chapter of your book, give your villain a stomachache. Have him search all through out his castle or mansion or airship looking for a cure. When he’s just about to figure out that the physical pain in his body is more alluring than capturing and killing the hero and begins to rethink his staunch villianism, have him throw up, and be graphic about it. Have happy symbols rising from the vomit: hearts, peace signs, four leaf clovers, moons, stars, horseshoes. He then returns to normal, but we have learned an important lesson, our villain is wavering!

If the villain of your story is a natural force or a state of mind, have this happen to animals or the mentally challenged.

-Don’t force a title; let it flow from you like a calm river. Think not only about the illusive metanarrative of the story, but also of the gripping diegetic parts, forming a pertinent appellation that can both entice and enchant. Your main character is a father, but he has also died. Viola! Ghost Dad! Are his patriarchal duties still unchecked?

-Female characters. Almost more important to the writer than his Sholes & Glidden Typewriter. It is important to remember that, since you are a writer and therefore not a woman, you should still strive to show them in an appropriate light. Although you may know very little about these creatures, there are several archetypes that can be bent to show womanly crevices that no reader has seen in his wildest dreams. Perhaps an exuberant young female acrobat changes an uptight male pilot’s views on life? Eh eh??

-Be careful when crafting your homosexual or ethnic characters! These ticking time bombs must be set just right if they are to explode into one of their anti-bigotry driven tirades at an appropriate time.

Appropriate times:
~During Bigotry
~When first introduced
~Lamenting, before they die
~When meeting the main characters family

Inappropriate times:
~When the main character is trying to land a plane
~In the title of the story
~When the main character is fighting a deviant member of his or her orientation
~While excitedly riding a dolphin

-No one knows the purpose of a semicolon. Sprinkle them haphazardly through out your story.

-There are many things the artist may do to help coax out his inner Bacchus during the writing process. Listen to some mood music. Eat comfort foods. Plan a vacation in your head in between paragraphs. Pick out an outfit for tomorrow! Try typing with your feet. Turn on the fan and the heater because it’s too quiet but the temperature is right. Pace around and yell at yourself. Dial up friends and ask them if they had any good ideas for books lately. During the writing of your next book, spend a good deal of time trying to shoot your left over Xanax’ out of the air.

-Does your character have an unusual voice? No? An unusual walk? A bad haircut? Weird teeth? Two different color eyes? How tall is your character? Where is he from? What time is it? How many pets did he have growing up? Where are we going tonight? A consummate briefcase? Where are my glasses? What does his breath smell like? Should we take my car or yours? Does he whistle? You don’t have a car? Uhh, Is he wearing any rings? Ok, I’m almost done. Remember, you have to describe your characters to the reader, so they can understand your singular, unifying vision!
*Mr. Calvino rides away on the back of a motorcycle*


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