Author Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Year of the Flood, and, her latest, MaddAdam) chats with Big Think about the difficulties of writing exposition. The author of speculative fiction breaks down what a writer should do when writing exposition with a goal of making the text appear seamless. Atwood also talks about her love of writing poetry and pushing against being pigeonholed as a fiction writer.
"The [hardest] parts of the novel are the parts when you know there are parts that the reader has to know but it’s not very interesting for you to write. Those are the parts that I don’t like. If you are competent enough, they won’t be able to tell which of those parts we are hoping the readers will not notice. We hope. We are always hoping.” – Margaret Atwood
This week’s Bookmark This! features the acclaimed author Gabriel Garcia Marquez in an extended interview with the Paris Review. The Nobel Prize-winning author explains how his career in journalism shaped his fiction and gives interesting tips on how to incorporate journalistic style into the fantastical.
On Writers’ Reel this week, we take a look at the PBS show Charlie Rose. The TV talk show host and journalist has invited many celebrated authors to sit and converse about their process. This 13-minute video features clips of Joan Didion, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, and more.
“A book is somebody’s best self. I’m better when I’m writing. I’m more considerate. I'm more humane. You’re trying to write about other people, you’re not thinking about yourself." Zadie Smith
Watch Zadie Smith talk about the power of words and Joan Didion confess to facing difficulty in writing novels.
To view more Charlie Rose interviews, click here.
"The book that launched a million blog posts titled 'What We Talk About…' (but don’t blame it for that, please), Raymond Carver’s 1981 book is one of the most important collections of the 20th century, complete with all the hard luck, bad relationships, and occasional death for which the author is known and, yes, loved.”
"How do you pick just one book by the 2013 Nobel Prize winner who has made a career out of writing short fiction? A difficult task, no doubt, but this 1978 volume that uses one single character as the centerpiece and splinters out from there is a uniquely interesting — and successful — experiment in short fiction."
Author Tom Perrotta (Election, Little Children) takes on the age-old advice of writing what you know in this candid discussion for Big Think. He also talks about his process in writing his 1998 novel Election, a novel that was adapted for film starring Reese Witherspoon.
“If you are lucky you’ll eventually find a voice or find a subject matter that you’re passionate about. That to me is really the crucial thing, somehow having your work connect with your obsessions and your passions.”
Stephen King believes in killing your darlings. George Orwell says if it's possible to cut a word out, always cut it. And Kurt Vonnegut says to start as close to the end as possible. When it comes to writing, we can all use a little bit of advice. BuzzFeed.com compiled a list of 30 invaluable nuggets of wisdom from our favorite writers. From Stephen King to Toni Morrison to Neil Gaiman, these quick hits will inspire you to keep going.
Read the rest of the article here.
Jhumpa Lahiri sits down with The New Yorker and reveals how she grew up reading Little Women, her own mysterious relationship to writing, and the importance of taking her time when it comes to her process.
“The key is to try to understand the elements that are failing and why. And then you move to the next draft with a little bit more clarity. Because of that, when I do write the 949th flawed draft that leads to the 950th successful one, it’s a matter of analyzing the flaws.“
For the final Bookmark This of the year, the PEN Center USA staff selected books to give even the most discerning people. From your too-cheerful aunt to your male friend with relationship problems, they’ve got you covered. And don’t forget to chime in with your own humorous book ideas below.