Brow Beat

Ray Bradbury on Madness, Realism, and How to Write a Proper Story

When Ray Bradbury died in 2012, he left behind a massive corpus, the result of a very long life and an uncanny prolificacy. Bradbury often described his incessant need to write as a sort of madness, and in the latest installment of PBS’s Blank on Blank interview series we hear firsthand how that madness informed his process and philosophy.

First off: As a “dedicated madman,” Bradbury advises finding “a few other nuts like yourself,” as they’ll be “your friends for a lifetime” and “protect you from the world.” As for writing, the author stresses the importance of emotion, of embracing one’s passion—there should be no “opinions” or “thinking” when crafting a story, just the blunt feeling that needs to be articulated on the page. As ever, Bradbury pairs his insights with a sharp wit, and his words are given life by Patrick Smith’s creative animation.