I do a lot of writing in sections, montage, and then feel them out for the best order. In other words, a lot of tunneling—a hole here, one there, and eventually some catacombs emerge. It’s lovely when a structure asserts itself—it’s like being a lost child wandering in a crowded place and all of a sudden someone trustworthy grabs your hand and pulls you to safety.
by Lisa Peet
Everyone knows that the all-time worst query you can put to a creative person is Where do you get your ideas? I’m going to come clean here, though, and admit that I think it’s kind of a great question—maybe not to ask outright, but to wonder about.
While [other writers] went back to learn Tamil, Hindi or Gujarati, I never felt the need. I had a child’s grasp of Marathi from my first 4 years of education but also I was not in the least unhappy with my divided state. I was born on the cusp of independence, so there was no point denying my colonial legacy as well as the new India. The only thing to do was to accept it and to make the most or the worst of it.
by Sue Dickman
Except for his first four years of primary school, his education was entirely in English, and he studied English literature in college. The surprise, then, is not that he chose to write in English but that he’s written fiction in Marathi at all, which he calls “perhaps one of the happiest accidents of my life.”
The tourist has an ethnocentric point of view—the unchallenged belief that his or her way of thinking is the best way. The “traveler” is more likely to consider another person’s point of view, another culture’s point of view, and to aim for some kind of humanistic way of judging people, actions, customs. If we apply this to writing, the “tourist” is doomed to write bad fiction, because good writing and strong characters require empathy.
My writing is deeply formed by my experience as an architect in two ways. Firstly, my many years as an architect taught me to sustain a long creative process. Designing a building takes many tries—it is an iterative, grueling process. Architects try different design approaches, fail, and often go “back to the drawing board.” And secondly, I gained a real understanding of structure, which is useful when plotting an intricate suspense novel.
by Kim Church
Just this week I was appalled to read online a young black writer’s questioning whether she had a right to create white characters. She was even considering writing under a pseudonym! This is a reflection of our polemic culture. As long as we continue to question ourselves about writing outside our own identities, the awful alienating notions that exist in literature—and in society—will go on. And on. And on.