Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Writers Blogging about Writers Talking about Writing #1

John Irving


Admittedly, we've been a bit negligent about updating the blog. But, with our new featured post "The Hook" counting down to the announcement of our First Page Contest winners, we've broken the inertia. So, in the spirit of momentum, we introduce the first of Writers Blogging about Writers Talking about Writing. 

A bit of background: In 1953, The Paris Review, newly established, published an interview with E.M. Forster that became the seed of what is now known as Writers at Work. This series of author interviews has preserved nearly sixty years of writers talking about...well...writing. So, we bring to you bits and pieces from these talks with the hope that they might be helpful, or at least pleasantly distracting.

John Irving - the be-scarfed New Englandy gentleman pictured above - was interviewed by The Paris Review in 1986 in the midst of working on A Prayer for Owen Meany. On whether or not Irving has fun writing, he says:

"...Writing a novel is actually searching for victims. As I write I keep looking for casualties. The stories uncover the casualties." 

If they aren't already, it may be time for your characters to suffer. Kill them, betray them, rob them (physically, emotionally, or both), let them descend into ruin and despair of such magnitude that recovering even the most broken version of their previous reality is impossible and they are left to cower in the fetal position, weeping, collecting their tears in crumpled Dixie cups so that they might hold on to their sadness a little longer before naught remains of them but a hollow, shriveled vestige of a person. Or, ya know, something along those lines.

In any case, if you would like to read the rest of the interview (and hear Irving dish on J.P. Donleavy, among other things), then place your cursor here and click.

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