Monday, September 12, 2016

Beginning a novel

For writing a novel, I begin with a concept of where I want to go and I allow myself to be surprised, and to incorporate themes as I go on; and if anything I expand the thematic life of the novel as I go on.

I may break off writing on a Tuesday and by Thursday have thought of a lot of different aspects of the scene I just wrote, and I will expand it and try to deepen it; and that means accessing some themes. Yet sometimes themes just surprise you. They work their way into your work the way characters do, and you’re surprised by how well developed these themes become.

I don’t pretend or even hope to be conscious of all the themes in my work when I finish a novel. I trust that they will have their own coherence and their own pattern, and that they will mean something.

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