9781884910425 / 1884910424

Novelists Notebook


Publisher:Story Pr



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About the book:

There is a page in The Novelist's Notebook for figuring out what keeps you from beginning your novel, and one for imagining your characters 20 or 40 years after your story ends. Author Laurie Henry offers paths for finding a subject, and for reaching a story's dénouement. Perhaps you hunger for a simple writing exercise ("present the mood of a crowd"), or to enrich the writing you are already doing. "Think of the least likely action you can imagine any of your characters doing," Henry suggests, "and then make them do it." These writing exercises are all over the map, but somehow the book seems to work.

Thoughts on fiction writing from a range of novelists round out the book. James D. Houston, when asked how long it takes him to write a novel, usually responds that it takes a year, or even a few. But the real answer, he says, "is that it takes your entire life. I am forty-four, and it took me forty-four years to get this novel finished." Larry Brown likens the toil of writing to that of house-building. "After the house is finished, no matter how tired your muscles have been on all those other days, the memory of the work is something that goes away." And the eminently quotable Ernest Hemingway drives home the isolation of the writer's work with--surprise--a sports analogy. "They can't yank a novelist like they can a pitcher," he says. "A novelist has to go the full nine, even if it kills him." --Jane Steinberg

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