Monday, June 01, 2015

Authors at Work: Anne Tyler Doesn’t Need Inspiration

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anne Tyler (Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, The Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons), recently told The Huffington Post UK that she quite often writes “completely without inspiration.”

"The only reason I begin a book is that I love the act of writing. So for the first month I sit at a bare desk beneath a large window - always in the morning, my mind shuts down by early afternoon - and I force myself to come up with something to write about."
"I'll think, 'maybe this could be a book about an old person at the end of his life' or 'maybe it's about someone who thinks his wife has returned from the dead'.
She says it's "mechanical" at the start and likens it to pushing puppets around a stage.
"But eventually I'll have manufactured a skeleton of a story, and then I begin thinking about exactly who my characters are. That's the important part. I get to know them intimately - are they spenders or savers? Enjoyers or non-enjoyers? How do they feel about their siblings? 
"Most of these details will never be mentioned in the novel, but knowing them helps me figure out what the characters are likely to do in any given situation," she adds.

There’s much more in the full piece, and that’s here.

Tyler’s most recent novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, a multigenerational family saga set in Baltimore. The book was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) in April. A Spool of Blue Thread is Tyler’s 20th book.


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