The Writer’s Center blog has posted some great interviews recently. This interview with Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don’t Live Like This, was inspiring and made me want to get back work on my novel right away:
Did you start off this project knowing you wanted to write a novel-in-stories, or were they separate short stories that began to come together, or were you planning on a novel or something else entirely?
I didn't mean to write this book at all! I was trying to fix a novel about my main character, Leah, at age 22, called Floorwork, which looked at one time like it might sail through the stratosphere. Four agents wanted it, but when it didn't find a publisher I realized I needed a deeper grasp of Leah's past--her adolescence, her family, her yearnings and motivation, the seeds of her sexuality.
I'd just started writing short stories—about Leah, to know her better—so that's how I researched her, and her mother. I wrote her at twelve, thirteen, fifteen. The stories got published; some won prizes. At some point I realized: here's half a book. And with every story I tried a new assignment. Write in third person. Write in past tense! That was weirdly scary. Write about Leah's mother. Write about sex, death or God without using clichés. Write about a man—that was the final story.
And I’m always interested in what lit journal editors have to say, so I enjoyed this interview with the editor of Failbetter.com, an online magazine:
What would you like our readers, members and the world to know about Failbetter.com? And since you'll inevitably be getting submissions -- at least one or two -- from our writers, what are you looking for in a story?
Again, I think you would get a different answer from each of my fb colleagues, whether it be from Andy Day the co-publisher of the mag, or from our section editors. I used to say we were looking for character-driven fiction where something actually happens – but with a decade under our belt, and the changing of section editors, I think the one constant editorial slant is that we seek that which is at once original and personal -- something that could only come from you.