Thursday 8 October 2009

On writing fiction

In 2007, Janet Malcolm, my favourite writer, had the following to say about fiction writing - and that explained why my various attempts to write a thriller have failed.

QUESTION: You possess so many of the novelist's tools - the ability to imagine yourself into the experiences of others; descriptive flair; a talent for narrative; all those incredible metaphors - yet you've said that you're "incapable of writing fiction." What is it that you lack?

MALCOLM: Yes, I can imagine myself into the experiences of others, but I cannot imagine anyone who does not exist. At least not when I am writing. At night, when I am asleep, I can imagine all kinds of characters and events. In our dreams we are all novelists and short-story writers. But in our conscious thoughts, only a few of us can make the leap from actuality to fiction.

For the full text go here

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