"A story always involves, in a dramatic way, the mystery of personality."
"...for the fiction writer, judgment begins in the details and how he sees them."
"Fiction writing is very seldom a matter of saying things; it is a matter of showing things."
"Detail has to be controlled by some overall purpose, and every detail has to be put to work for you. Art is selective. What is there is essential and creates movement."
"I would even go so far as to say that the person writing a fantasy has to be even more strictly attentive to the concrete detail than someone writing in a naturalistic vein -- because the greater the story's strain on the credulity, the mor convincing properties in it have to be."
"If you start with a real personality, a real character, then something is bound to happen; and you don't have to know what before you begin. In fact it may be better if you don't know what before you begin. You ought to be able to discover something from your stories. If you don't, probably nobody else will."
I suggest that everyone should read this essay. It's really, really amazing. I think it made me fall in love with Flannery O'Connor which is unfortunate, as she is dead. Woe is me. *sniffle*