James A. Michener: A writing tip relating to novelist Thomas Hardy

Novelist James A. Michener, described by the New York Times as “a born storyteller,” is a writer who has always been generous in giving advice to new, aspiring, and developing writers , especially through his non-fictions books about the creative process of writing.

In his book Literary Reflections, Michener discussed the novels of Thomas  Hardy (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) and commented:

“The Hardy novel I recommend to young writers is The Mayor of Casterbridge, whose opening chapter is one of the world’s finest examples of how to start a narrative; it is both compelling and premonitory.”

Ironically, Hardy, now considered one the the world’s greatest novelists, was originally more interested in writing poetry, but turned to prose when his poetry initially was not of interest to publishers.

In describing Hardy’s legacy, the Encyclopaedia Britannica observes, “The continuing popularity of Hardy’s novels owes much to their richly varied, yet always accessible, style and their combination of romantic plots with convincingly presented characters.”

Hardy, whose poetry is now widely appreciated, made a comment about writing poetry that could be applied to other forms of creative writing:

“My opinion is that a poet should express the emotion of all the ages and the thought of his own.”

 Dennis Mellersh

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