“Footnote to ‘Shambleau’…and Others” by C.L. Moore

This delightful essay appears as an afterword in The Best of C.L. Moore, edited by Lester del Rey. Moore describes her writing process. She also tells the tale of writing “Shambleau.” Most interesting to me is the way she describes writing, and the importance she gives to reading for enjoyment. Much of what she writes here is exactly what I teach my students. (See my lecture “Read Like A Writer.”)

I had no idea she wrote like this, and I found the essay to be lovely validation. Not that I would have changed my process anyway, but still. 

For example, she writes, “Here we return to my conviction you must read enough, enjoy it enough, to absorb unconsciously the structure of the fiction you like the best.” 

She compares her unconscious to a black cat, and she adds, “The unconscious more than anything hates being dragged into public. He can’t work under the inspection of the conscious mind.” 

Yep. I agree. And I haven’t seen it written about as well or as succinctly. Wonderful little essay. 

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