The author of “The Story of Arthur Truluv,” “Night of Miracles” and more, provides insight into her writing style.
Novelist Stephen McCauley is the author of seven novels, including several best-sellers and three books that were made into feature films. His most recent novel, … Read More “Stephen McCauley: How I Write”
“I try to keep an ear out when I’m in the world and on the page for how the rhythm and pattern of speech can feel as true to life as possible.”
“I think poetry is available to anybody who wants it – you have to apprentice yourself at some level.”
“It was almost 30 years of being a journalist until I felt comfortable pitching books.”
“When I started writing, it was a way to understand my own adolescence, and what came out was a revelation about my own teenage years.”
“In all my work, the things I’m invested in are empathy and compassion and trying to put human experiences on the page that I haven’t read before.”
“All writing is founded in memory, no matter what kind.”
“I could write 30 pages of how a character meets another character and not wind up using any of it, but I’ll get to know that character. No writing is wasted.”
“I start with a block of words that I carve and carve and carve until I find the simplest and most powerful way to move the narrative along.”
“What I wrote was deeply triggering for me, but I couldn’t arrive at the place I am now if I didn’t see on the page what happened to me.”
“What I am at my core is a journalist and a reporter, and I’ve always been drawn to stories that require a lot of reporting and research.”
“What compels me are the books that can seamlessly balance humor with sadness. I think each sharpens the other.”
“I am a character-driven writer, and I believe that once you define a character, they tell their story.”
“It’s also a mysterious and sometimes maddening place to me, especially in recent years, with the state’s political shift toward bombast and bigotry.”
“I really think for many of us, poetry chooses us.”
“To me, all my books are about human nature.”
“It’s important to write about things that matter to you and scare you.”
“Craft and technique can sustain and improve the drive to tell a story.”
Tips for finding your flow.
“I’ve never had much luck trying to please a specific audience. I write for myself, in the hope that enough people will be interested and amused by the same things that interest and amuse me.”
“Self-publishing allows for more experimentation in terms of genre, and I love how it feels so democratic.”
This poet’s art has been largely inspired by his work in prisons.
“In my everyday life, I’m pretty private and reserved, so the hardest part was taking personal emotion and putting it on the page. “
“I tend to see the world through a humor lens. I use it as a defense mechanism. That may be a personality flaw, but it makes me the writer I am.”
“Writers are inspired when they are in the company of other writers; the energy and enthusiasm makes them want to go home and write.”
“If I’m just writing jokes, that’s not very gratifying. I want to find human truths. “
“The reader reads for dialogue more than anything. The writer’s habit is to describe, but the reader would rather hear the character.”
The writer has gained much attention and praise for her short story collection, Night at the Fiestas.
“When there is violence in my work, the goal is not to titillate but to reveal character. It reveals the mask of that person, and we see who he or she really is when that mask is dropped.”
“The key to nailing the YA voice is remembering that teens aren’t the aliens we so often make them out to be.”
“I see my stories like explosions. They come from the gut and come out short.”
“I don’t ever see any character as 100 percent good or 100 percent evil.”
“There’s no better teacher than reading and reading and reading. Find a story you love, take it apart, reassemble, and look at the way it’s put together.”
As founder and president of Serendipity, a boutique literary agency, Regina Brooks dedicates her skills and years of experience to helping a diverse client base get their work published.
“No outside pressure could live up to the pressure I’ve always put on myself as a writer.”
For the first time since she was 15 years old, Stephanie Danler is no longer working in a restaurant. Thanks to a two-book deal with Knopf, she’s now able to devote herself full time to writing.
“I grew to love the challenges and rewards of the short story – the way you have to be precise and condensed and make every word count.”
“My job is to jump through that empathic window and report on the human condition. Period.”
“Once you have a good story, the science will take care of itself.”