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People really want to think that these things really happened. I don't know why that important, but I know that when I finish reading a novel or something, I want to know how much of that really happened to this author.
My first novel, 'Housekeeping,' was accepted by the first agent who read it, and bought by the first editor who read it. In general, my experience with publication has been gentle and gratifying.
I did not set out to write another novel. One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become 'Tomcat in Love.'
In my third novel there is an actual black hole that swallows everything you love.
Journalism can go right up to the door of the room in which the decisions are made. A novel can go inside the room - and inside the character's heads.
After college, I was living in New York and wrote furiously, a huge novel that I knew was a failure. I hoped that the book would work, but to be honest, I think I knew it would never work, even as I was finishing it.
Writing a novel is not at all like riding a bike. Writing a novel is like having to redesign a bike, based on laws of physics that you don't understand, in a new universe. So having written one novel does nothing for you when you have to write the second one.
I've got an idea for a modern day faerie tale that I think would made a great short novel. But I just don't have the time to work on it right now. I'm way too busy with the 'Kingkiller Chronicles' and being a new dad.
I don't know that any writing comes easily, but I certainly get more immersed in novels. I don't think the routine is any different, but fiction tends to pull me further away from my life. When I'm deep in a novel, I don't pay bills and I walk around in one shoe, drinking two-day old coffee, and calling my kids by the wrong names.
The novel that's contemporary in the sense of being wholly 'of now' is an impossibility, if only because novels may take years to write, so the 'now' with which they begin will be defunct by the time they're finished.
I read John Irving's novel 'The World According To Garp' when I was about 14 or 15. It was the first grown-up book that I had read. It is the story of a young man who grows up to be a novelist. I finished it, and I wanted to write a book that made the reader feel the way I felt at the end of that, which was sort of both bereft and elated.
Publishers send me a lot of first novels because my first novel was the defining novel of my career, and I guess a lot of people want my benediction or something.
I have no doubt that 'On the Road' is a Great American Novel. But I'm also certain my students will do fine without it.
I always think I know the way a novel will go. I write maps on oversized art pads like the kind I carried around in college when I was earnest about drawing. I need to have some idea of the shape of the novel, where its headed, so that I can proceed with confidence. But the truth is my characters start doing and saying things I don't expect.
A novel wouldn't be a book if there weren't some flights of fancy on the part of the author, stopping time to examine things, or to tell a joke.
I do see an interest in writing for Twitter. While publishers still do love the novel and people do still like to sink into one, the very quick form is appealing because of the pace of life.
I want to write more books, see my first novel made into a film, fight more campaigns, work in more countries. I want to be able to recall experiences that have endured for their pleasure and range and intensity.
When I sit down to write a novel, I am exploring my own relationship with God, with the struggle between good and evil, my own purpose.
The fundamental purpose of a novel like Count Julian is to achieve the unity of object and means of representation, the fusion of treason as scheme and treason as language.
The characters you refer to as predatory and unsavory are useful. They're the ones who make a novel into a thriller. They're active, and most of the common virtues, the signs of a good person, are not.
The fact that I have always been deeply invested in politics, and African politics in particular, inevitably played a role in my first novel and, of course, in my decision to write about a handful of particular conflicts in Africa as a journalist.
I attempt to write a good novel. Whether it is literature or not is something that will be decided by the ages, not by me and not by a pack of critics around the globe.
The English tradition offers the great tapestry novel, where you have the emotional aspect of a detective's personal life, the circumstances of the crime and, most important, the atmosphere of the English countryside that functions as another character.
I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels.
Perhaps that is why the novel flourished in England. You had these communities that would stay put and people would see one another all the time and cause one another to change and have the opportunity to observe the changes over time.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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