Sandra Cisneros: Finding Her Voice Through Anger

Excerpt from Makers:

But there was a moment when I got really angry, and I said: “I’ll show you. I’m going to write something you can’t say is wrong.”  And anger, I think, is great, if you don’t use it to shoot yourself in the head.  And I used it to write the book that I didn’t see in the library or in our classrooms, and that’s how House on Mango Street was born.

Watch the full here.

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Haruki Murakami on Clarity in the Story

Interview excerpt from The Paris Review:

I get some images and I connect one piece to another. That’s the story line. Then I explain the story line to the reader. You should be very kind when you explain something. If you think, It’s okay; I know that, it’s a very arrogant thing. Easy words and good metaphors; good allegory. So that’s what I do. I explain very carefully and clearly.

Read the full here.

Jorge Luis Borges: “I can’t get along without writing”

Interview excerpted from The Paris Review:

I think nowadays, while literary men seem to have neglected their epic duties, the epic has been saved for us, strangely enough, by the Westerns.

***

I know that I can’t get along without writing. If I don’t write, I feel, well, a kind of remorse, no? Then I thought I would try my hand at writing an article or a poem. But I thought, “I have written hundreds of articles and poems. If I can’t do it, then I’ll know at once that I am done for, that everything is over with me.” So I thought I’d try my hand at something I hadn’t done: If I couldn’t do it, there would be nothing strange about it because why should I write short stories? It would prepare me for the final overwhelming blow: knowing that I was at the end of my tether.

Read the full here.

Alice Munro on Revising

Interview excerpted from The Paris Review:

I see a little bit of writing that doesn’t seem to be doing as much work as it should be doing, and right at the end I will sort of rev it up. But when I finally read the story again it seems a bit obtrusive. So I’m not too sure about this sort of thing. The answer may be that one should stop this behavior. There should be a point where you say, the way you would with a child, this isn’t mine anymore.

***

I can see the ways a story could go wrong. I see the negative things more easily than the positive things. Some stories don’t work as well as others, and some stories are lighter in conception than others.

For the full, read here.

Ian McEwan on the Faith that Fiction Demands

Excerpt from The Guardian:

When the god of fiction deserts you, everything must go. The book-lined church and miked-up pulpit, the respectful congregation, the interviewer’s catechism, confessions disguised as questions, the supplicant line to the healing power of a signature, the reviewer’s blessing or curse. I confess, I’ve been on those panels with fellow believers as we intone the liturgy, that humans are fabulators, that we “cannot live” without stories. Priests, too, always imply that we cannot live without them. (Oh yes we can.)

***

Months can go by, and then there comes a shift, a realignment. It starts with a nudge. A detail, a phrase or a sentence, can initiate the beginning of a return to the fold. It needn’t be brilliant. It only has to exude a certain kind of imaginative warmth.

For the full, read here.

Chinua Achebe: “I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to teach me how to write”

Interview excerpt from The Paris Review:

Well, I don’t know how [teaching creative writing] is done. I mean it. I really don’t know. The only thing I can say for it is that it provides work for writers. Don’t laugh! It’s very important. I think it’s very important for writers who need something else to do, especially in these precarious times. Many writers can’t make a living. So to be able to teach how to write is valuable to them. But I don’t really know about its value to the student. I don’t mean it’s useless. But I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to teach me how to write.

Read the full here.

Caroline Carlson: How I Plan A Story

Excerpt from Through the Tollbooth:

I don’t think anyone will ever be able to adequately explain where story ideas come from, but for me, they usually arrive when I’m standing at the kitchen counter eating crackers out of the box and letting my mind wander all over the place. As it wanders, it stumbles over a strange or silly thought, and I sort of laugh to myself and say (with a mouth full of crackers), “That would be a good idea for a story.”

Usually, it is not a good idea for a story.

For the full, read here.