If I waited till I felt like writing, I'd never write at all.
I was standing in the schoolyard waiting for a child when another mother came up to me. Have you found work yet? she asked. Or are you still just writing?
My family can always tell when I'm well into a novel because the meals get very crummy.
I can never tell ahead of time which book will give me trouble - some balk every step of the way, others seem to write themselves - but certainly the mechanics of writing, finding the time and the psychic space, are easier now that my children are grown.
But what I hope for from a book - either one that I write or one that I read - is transparency. I want the story to shine through. I don't want to think of the writer.
My decision to start a new one is just that, a decision, since I never get inspirations.
The Amateur Marriage grew out of the reflection that of all the opportunities to show differences in character, surely an unhappy marriage must be the richest.
I'm too shy for personal appearances, and I've found out that anytime I talk about my writing, I can't do any writing for many weeks afterward.
I remember leaving the hospital - thinking, 'Wait, are they going to let me just walk off with him? I don't know beans about babies! I don't have a license to do this.' We're just amateurs.
I expect that any day now, I will have said all I have to say; I'll have used up all my characters, and then I'll be free to get on with my real life.
For my own family, I would always choose the makeshift, surrogate family formed by various characters unrelated by blood.
I consciously try to end my novels at a point where I won't have to wonder about my characters ever again.
I'll write maybe one long paragraph describing the events, then a page or two breaking the events into chapters, and then reams of pages delving into my characters. After that, I'm ready to begin
I've always enjoyed studying the small clues that indicate a particular class level.
When I read, I'm purely a reader
My stories are never quite good enough
I never think about the actual process of writing. I suppose I have a superstition about examining it too closely.
Time, in general, has always been a central obsession of mine - what it does to people, how it can constitute a plot all on its own. So naturally, I am interested in old age.
I forget a book as soon as I finish writing it, which is not always a good thing
Not until the final draft do I force myself to remember that I'm going to have to think about how it will affect other people.
My writing day has grown shorter as I've aged, although it seems to produce the same number of pages.
I do write long, long character notes - family background, history, details of appearance - much more than will ever appear in the novel. I think this is what lifts a book from that early calculated, artificial stage.
In real life I avoid all parties altogether, but on paper I can mingle with the best of them
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