“[Readers] want the writer to have some sort of personal experience with the narrative. It’s bizarre. People are expecting fiction to be real. We don’t want our writers to write about magic without having grown up in a family full of magicians. The same thing happens when you put people in these boxes. I can’t think of a novel published recently that is a person of one race writing about another race that’s met with much critical success. Why? Why can’t we? That’s our job as writers: To step out of our skins and into other people’s. To the extent that we’re not doing that, we’re not doing our jobs.”
“Romance writers do what they love, and they get paid for it. They hone their craft, like any other writer. They value their work, and they speak with an honest voice, telling the stories that they want to tell. I can’t imagine anything more feminist.”
“One of the reasons that I wanted to study literature was because it exposed everything. Writers looked for secrets that had never been mined. Every writer has to invent their own magical language in order to describe the indescribable. They might seem to be writing in French, or English, or Spanish, but really they were writing in the language of butterflies, crows, and hanged men.”
— From The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill, reviewed for The Rumpus by Liz Fischer Greenhill
“If you have some other profession that allows you your evenings or weekends, terrific, stick with that. Having a profession other than writing also has the potential side benefit of providing you with material, something to write about. I tell my students, if you’re interested in marine biology or llama farming, follow that string. Yes, it will probably take you a longer time to write that book, but it’s not a race. That’s another great thing about being a writer: you don’t age out.”
But I kept my sunny side up. I knew it would all work out. I started sending the book out myself to contests, then to small presses, then to smaller presses. Over a year went by. One morning I received a letter from some tiny press in somewhere like Never, Never North Dakota with a name something like Not Going To Happen Press. The rejection was typed on thick grey paper: Dear Micah Perks, we only publish two books a year and though we admired your novel, we have decided to publish two others this year instead. We are sure you will soon find a publisher for this lovely, lyrical work. Then, a handwritten P.S.: If you ever learn how to tell a story you’ll be a great writer. This was probably my thirtieth rejection. This was western New York in February, and I was in my baggy pajamas and a wool hat inside my apartment at one in the afternoon. I tore up the letter, threw it on the floor. I grabbed up the dusty bottle of champagne, ran out the back door—slipping and skidding on icy back steps in my bare feet into the small backyard covered in snow and dog shit, bare branches of the quince bush still months from budding. I let out a furious sob and threw that champagne bottle as hard as I could.
Back To The Beginning: Why I Write by Micah Perks.
“I find it only natural for a storyteller to be interested in storytelling and, for anyone who spends the better part of his or her life writing fiction, it is hardly surprising that the pleasures, worries, and mechanics of fiction-making should enter the work. It may be old hat, but I see no reason to close off what is for me a fruitful subject of inquiry, especially so for one, like me, who is very much interested in creating stories and novels of ideas.”
“When I sit down to write, and revise especially, job one is to avoid throat-clearing like the plague, and I hope these stories have benefitted from my self-imposed rule to write like a Navy SEAL: get in and get out. I write a lot in my head before I ever sit down and approach the page, and in general I’d say most of these stories developed with a combination of all three aspects you mentioned, but the answer also depends on the story; for some I had a very clear starting point.”
Super Hot Prof-on-Student Word Sex #13: Along Came Polly, in which Steve Almond talks to Polly Dugan.
“More and more I think there’s an element of fiction writing that’s performative. If you want your stories to carry a particular charge of feeling, you have to experience that feeling while you’re working. I don’t know that you can fake it, or at least I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to fake it, because the choices you make when you’re writing—the rhythms you adopt, the phrases you construct, the effect one word has when it’s nestled alongside another—are so highly nuanced, and have so much to do with the ultimate emotional effect of a story, so that if you aren’t feeling along with your sentences, your instincts will gradually lead you astray.”

The Rumpus Interview With Kevin Brockmeier

This is, no surprise, really really great.

The thing about a man with a gun is that now he has aims, now he has something he’s pointed at, which makes him sharp, now he’s more than just a ball rolling around bouncing off other balls. So it makes sense that when writers have sat down to write, they’ve often worked with a man who has a gun. It makes sense that they’ve needed him to be sharp. This sharpness is often the thing that lets them find the story.
Simak Vossoughi writes about guns and teaching and play in Sharpness.
“I write from the body of the shrimp cooked brighter. Pull the veins from its back. Suck the salt from its head.”