An Error in Writing

Kristen Twardowski

465px-Pietro_Rotari_-_Young_Russian_Woman_-_Walters_372377.jpgI made a terrible, unholy error last week; I reread a few of my favorite authors. This doesn’t seem like it would be a problem – writers read all of the time, don’t they? – but I started to read my Russian standbys: Chekhov, Bulgakov, Turgenev. And then everything went wrong.

When I write, I have a strong voice, move action along well enough, use clear prose, but if I read my writing next to the works authors who are masters at their craft, I begin to feel very small.

Take, for example, this excerpt about the character of Anna Odintsova from Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons (1862):

Sometimes upon emerging from a fragrant bath, all warm and soft, she’d fall to musing about the insignificance of life, its sadness, travail, and evil…Her soul would be filled with unexpected boldness and seethe with noble aspiration; but a draught of wind would…

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