May 04, 2011

Any monkey in a story had better be a dead monkey

Here's part one of a terrific interview full of writing advice from George Saunders:

This caveat about what happens when everyone has the same impulse about how to "steer into the rapids" is what is known, I believe, as a "fair cop":

a few years back, in our admissions pile at Syracuse, we were getting a gazillion stories where everyone over 40 was a pedophile. Or, you know—if he/she wasn’t a pedophile, it was through sheer act of will. And I started feeling that move as sort of habitual—it was what a young writer did when he/she didn’t know what else to do: throw a pedophile in there. So that decision—which must have felt, to those writers, like “steering toward the rapids”—was actually the opposite: it had become the lazy, go-to solution—a way of avoiding complexity.
Looking forward to part two. Posted by Dr. Frank at May 4, 2011 08:46 PM | TrackBack