Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0452298156

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0452298156

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Twenty of America's bestselling authors share tricks, tips, and secrets of the successful writing life.

Anyone who's ever sat down to write a novel or even a story knows how exhilarating and heartbreaking writing can be. So what makes writers stick with it? In Why We Write, twenty well-known authors candidly share what keeps them going and what they love most—and least—about their vocation.

Contributing authors include:
Isabel Allende
David Baldacci
Jennifer Egan
James Frey
Sue Grafton
Sara Gruen
Kathryn Harrison
Gish Jen
Sebastian Junger
Mary Karr
Michael Lewis
Armistead Maupin
Terry McMillan
Rick Moody
Walter Mosley
Susan Orlean
Ann Patchett
Jodi Picoult
Jane Smiley
Meg Wolitzer

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interview I ever gave years ago. I want to be the most widely read, most controversial, most influential writer of my time. Getting lost The thing I love most about the act of writing is that I disappear. I get lost in trying to make every word the right word, in trying to tell the story. When I’m writing I have total control. Nothing’s going on the page unless I put it there. It’s not going to stay there unless I want it to stay there. When you sit down at the machine, you create that world,

people reading worse books, but they’re still reading books. I read on my iPad now, and I buy more books than ever. If I like a book I also buy it in cloth or paperback because I want to support the bookstores. My readers would be shocked to know… …how long it takes me to write these books. I’ll look at my students’ first drafts, but if a friend says, “I’ve written eighty pages,” and asks me to read them, I’ll say, “How many times have you written them?” Because there’s usually about one and

from Vietnam, I moved back to Charleston. I spent a year working for the News & Courier, the South’s oldest daily newspaper. I was writing feature stories about the Spanish moss blight and chitlin’ festivals, interviewing Strom Thurmond and his third beauty queen wife. I started picking up guys down at the Battery, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Kind of appropriate, really, for the great-great-grandson of a Confederate general. My sexual awakening—make that unleashing—was

friends. I wasn’t intimidated by them—they were doing me a favor, telling me these stories. When I got older, in high school, I discovered that the American writer-ideal was Hemingway for a boy or Fitzgerald for a girl. An aspiring author of serious literature could be a he-man writer like Hemingway or a she-man writer like Fitzgerald. There were no female-writer role models. Imagine a girl sitting at her desk in ninth grade, scratching her head, saying, I can’t write The Sun Also Rises; I’m a

bad book takes some talent and work to put together. Everyone thinks they can write a novel. They know they can’t slam-dunk a basketball because they don’t have the height or the athleticism. But people think, “I’ve got a brain, I’ve got a laptop. How hard can it be?” Those who attempt it learn that it’s very hard to do. Lawyers are storytellers Some of the best fiction I ever came up with was as a lawyer. You know who wins in court? The client whose lawyer tells better stories than the

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