This great interview with Joan Didion:
“Writing fiction is for me a fraught business, an occasion of daily dread for at least the first half of the novel, and sometimes all the way through. The work process is totally different from writing nonfiction. You have to sit down every day and make it up. You have no notes—or sometimes you do, I made extensive notes for A Book of Common Prayer—but the notes give you only the background, not the novel itself. In nonfiction the notes give you the piece. Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”
Open Culture has a handy summary of Stephen King’s 20 Rules for Writers, extrapolated from his book On Writing:
“Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”
I like the Guardian’s series of ‘Interviews with a Bookstore’: this one is with the smallest bookshop in Boston:
“If you had infinite space what would you add?
Kate: I hesitate to say more books – because I’m awfully overwhelmed with the knowledge that I’ll never be able to read all the books currently in my store and I’m aware that there are many things that I haven’t discovered. So if you really mean infinite I would want to add an outdoor garden with lots of reading nooks, a rooftop bar with a space observatory, tumbleweeds, a small stage with blue velvet curtains for live events, a recording studio to produce and podcast our events, oh and some more practical things that I don’t currently have would be nice, like office space, a receiving area, and a dog.”
The illustrator Michael Foreman on his notebooks.
Niamh Garvey has a perceptive piece about writing through rejection here.
And finally, submissions close on 1st June for Gladstone’s Library’s Writer in Residence programme – details here.