Tor.com content by

Cindy Pon

Writing Through the Lens of an Artist

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

You learn quickly as a published author that each of us reads with a very personal lens—what is engaging and fluid prose for one reader might be boring and stilted for another—never mind the myriad of themes, tropes, characters and plots that fill all the many stories we have. As individuals, we are likely to react differently to the same story. Why wouldn’t we? We read with our personal histories and filters.

One of the most interesting pieces of advice that I have heard for writers is: Write the story that only you can tell. I agree with this. Although I think the majority of stories indeed have already been told, what a writer brings to the table is storytelling through their own voice, experiences and lens. This is unique and is what makes a familiar story fresh time and again.

[I’ve been a student of Chinese brush painting for nearly two decades.]