Feb 272013

I write what I want. I try to write what I’d like to read. I think about not wasting a reader’s time, my own included. As to the what and the how, I’m certainly not the first to use those terms. I guess others would call it content and style, and so forth. Of course, they can never be untangled from each other. They are each other. My point, and it’s an obvious one, I think, to many writers and readers, is that the story is nothing if you are not invested in every line of its telling. I’m talking about that charged feeling, the startling stuff, the poetry, the humor, the hurt, and getting your effects through language as well as through the situation. Your desired effect might be something percussive, or languorous, or plain-spoken, or richly complex, but they all require artifice, manipulation, in order for their power to compel us and to be sustained, undeniable. And here’s the crucial thing: By not thinking of your sentences as mere delivery trucks for the information of your story, by putting pressure on them, you often end up with a much more profound “what” than you could have dreamed up beforehand. As I said, this is really obvious. But it took me a long time and the help of teachers to figure it out.

via Paris Review – Pressing Flesh with Sam Lipsyte, Giancarlo DiTrapano.

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