I worked hard for restraint…

”I worked hard for restraint, and my mantra was ‘trust Homer, trust Homer.’ I knew that if I could find the simple English word for his simple Greek, work for cadence–spoken cadence, not the cadence of ‘high poetry’–it would work.”

–Caroline Alexander

Read about Ms. Alexander and her translation of “The Iliad” in The Wall Street Journal’s Arts & Entertainment (D6 Friday, November 27, 2015).

“The more you treat it as just another thing…”

On writing good sex scenes:

“Sex scenes are not about getting aroused. They are about showing how a particular character goes about having sex, what it means, and what happens next.

They might be arousing, but what I really want the reader to do is keep reading, so the scenes have to be narratively interesting and meaningful, as idiosyncratic as any other scene. That means that you have to think about and investigate sex and relationships as frankly and intently as you would anything else that you are writing about (say, changes in the banking rules).

The more you treat it as just another thing, just another interesting thing, the better your sex scenes will be.”

Jane Smiley