Ian McEwan on the writing life.
Ian McEwan on the writing life. When I write a novel I'm writing about authors write about what they know wall own life; I'm writing a biography almost, always.
And to make it look like a novel I either have a murder or a death at the end. Ancestors, distant relatives and the past really were not part of my sense of family as I grew up. Something of my father's exile from Scotland — self-exile really — and then exile from Great Britain, has rubbed off on me and probably affected the way I write.
When I started writing, I didn't feel that I was quite part of the English literary world or its systems of class or whatever — I always felt something of an outsider in it.
That's faded over the years, but I think it has made quite an impression on me, this sense of not being deeply connected to all the branches and roots of family.
I could make a narrative of my writing which goes something like this: And so the gap between my early short stories and a novel like Atonement, with its country house — a novel that looks partly back over its shoulder towards Jane Austen, but also back towards the hallowed traditions of Agatha Christie and crime novels, in that you set up a scene, you have a stranger arrive and everything follows from that.
So there's an enormous gap from Atonement to the earliest short stories with their very dispossessed, alienated characters who are living in a city with no name, often in a time that's not fixed.
In the ideal world, all writers would have a Catholic childhood, or belong to some other religion which does the equivalent for you. Because Catholicism tells you at a very early age the world is not what you see; that beyond everything you see, and the appearance — or the accidents as they're known — there is another reality, and it is a far more important reality.
So it's like running in the imagination. I think that this was the whole point for me — that from my earliest years I believed the world to have an overt face and a hidden face, and behind every cause another cause, and behind every explanation another explanation, which is perhaps of quite a different order.
And if you cease to believe in Catholic doctrine it doesn't mean that you lose that; you still regard the world as ineffable and mysterious and as something which perhaps in the end can't quite be added up.
It could be summed up as saying "all is not as it seems", and of course that's the first thing Catholicism tells you. And then it just runs through everything you write and everything you touch, really. Plus, it's good to have something to rebel against.
It wasn't the thing my parents wanted me to be good at, but if you're working class and your parents have never owned their own house and never owned a car and stuff; they think you go to university to get a trade, to get a profession.
So accountant, lawyer, dentist, doctor. There was one relative, an aunt of mine who had grown up with my mum in Bradford; she was married to an accountant, and he had a nice flash car; they owned their own home, seemed to have a very good standard of living, so I thought, "Well, I'll become an accountant.
I was 17, I'd just sat my highers and I'd scraped a C for economics — just passed economics — and I thought, "Why the hell am I going to university to do a subject I'm really not that interested in and obviously not that good at?
The thing I really like is English; I like books. When I was about 11 or 12 I think I must have said something about how I wanted to be a writer; I don't remember having any such aspiration until much, much later.
But I must have said something, because Lucy [my governess] wrote to Somerset Maugham and said that she was governess to a little girl who wanted to be a writer and what would Mr Maugham suggest?
Heaven knows how she managed to write to him — I suppose care of the publishers. He wrote a very nice letter back saying absolutely the right thing: I cannot remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer, and specifically a novelist; I can't remember ever wanting to be anything else.
I never wanted to be a sportsman, I never wanted to be a musician. I never had the slightest bit of interest in music; we were too clever in my school to be interested in pop music. So when other boys had pictures of footballers on their walls or they had pictures of musicians on their walls, I swear to you, I had a picture of George Eliot, I had a picture of Jane Austen; I had a picture of Ben Jonson, a copy of Sargent's portrait of Henry James which was in the National Portrait Gallery.
I only ever wanted to be a writer and I only ever valued writers.I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.” —R.L.
Stine, WD (this quote is from an interview with Stine that ran in our November/December issue). Quotable Quotes on Writers and Writing. which is one reason why they write so little. - Anne Lamott. Writing is a fairly lonely business unless you invite peopl in to watch you do it, which is often distracting and then have to ask them to leave.
(This is the meaning of the well-known expression "Write what you know.") - Daniel Quinn. I mean people may say they don't know where the story came from, but they must do there's nothing you can make up.
In general, you're recalling memories I think, and that's the only thing. Oct 24, · How Authors Write. The technologies of composition, not new media, inspire innovations in literary styles and forms.
it is tempting to imagine that authors, thinking about how their writing Author: Jason Pontin. 5 Things Writers Need to Know Before Publishing Their First Book Posted by Cynthia on March 13, The post, 33 Authors On Why They Write, was simply quotes from a variety of authors. Some were legends and others were bloggers – [ ] blog comments powered by Disqus.