“Never allow the integrity of your own way of seeing things and saying things to be swamped by the influence of a master, however great.” George P. Lathrop
George Parsons Lathrop. Ever heard of him? Probably not. Most people haven’t. But everybody’s heard of his father-in law. In fact, countless high school and college students in this country still read the man’s writing every year, and have so for over a century.
You see, in 1871, at the age of twenty, George Lathrop married a woman three months his senior named Rose Hawthorne, the youngest child of Nathaniel. Yes, that Hawthorne. And while George perhaps lived in his father-in-law’s shadow, he was an accomplished American poet, novelist, and newspaper editor in his own right. Partial listings of his work can be found here and here.
But my purpose in writing this is not to focus on the life of George and Rose, as interesting as it may be.* I am much more interested in the above quotation and how it relates to my approach to writing fiction. The quote is taken from a chapter titled “Truthfulness To One’s Self” in The Art of Authorship: Literary Reminiscences, Methods Of Work, And Advice To Young Beginners, originally published in 1890.
The quote has stuck with me since I first heard it two decades ago. And its meaning to me, I suspect, flips Lathrop’s original intent on its head. When I write fiction, I am simply the vehicle through which my characters speak.
Read more details here…https://mgcobb.com/2020/12/20/i-write-in-service-to-my-characters/