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Comment from the book world in October 2014

October 2014

'They take on lives of their own'

27 October 2014

'I've a pretty good idea of what the story is and where it's going. The trouble is that, though you've laboured to create these characters and thought of plausible things for them to do, they take on lives of their own. I've often thought that writing fiction was like industrial management. Sometimes I've felt like putting thumbscrews on my employees to prevent them messing up on my plans, but you have to persuade or compromise or negotiate with them. And allowing them to develop does give them more life.'

Michael Frayn, author of Noises Off and Matchbox Theatre, in The Times



'That romanticised idea of writing a novel'

18 October 2014

‘I am wary of that romanticised idea of writing a novel, you just have to pick up a pencil or a pen and open your laptop and it is far more boring. It's not glamorous. I learnt that I can write anywhere. You do need time and space but you don't need a cottage in Wales, I'd say...

The Miniaturist was written under cloak of darkness with nothing to lose and now I am No 1 in The Sunday Times charts and it's a bit mad, but you are still the same person, the same writer, you have to remember that nothing has changed. That's what I am telling myself.'

Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist



"Will this make sense in Brazil?"

13 October 2014

'I think the worst thing you can do when you start to write is think: "Will this make sense in Brazil?" I actively tried not to write in a way that felt unnatural or to twist things, cut out cultural references, alter the sense of humour, or have any of those cliched notions about what might appeal to a French audience or a Spanish audience. I am aware of the expectations of people in Sweden and Brazil and the US, but it's crazy to let them interfere.

You can only hope that the stories you write are universal enough to make sense. I have this nightmare that I'll go to press junkets and people will say: "I didn't enjoy this book as much as One Day, but tell me where the idea came from". I didn't want to be defensive about it. I'm sure some people won't enjoy it as much as they enjoyed One Day, but I feel really fond of it and I really feel it is different - I am pleased it is.

Writing a book is something you do alone, whereas films are collaborative. If Us ever has a life in film I would never write the script because I think authors can lack the ruthlessness and the objectivity you need to develop a script. It is very demanding, and as the creator you feel as if you should have some sort of a trump card when it comes to decisions but film isn't like that.'

David Nicholls, author of One Day and Us in the Bookseller


'If they're meant to be writers, they will write.'

3 October 2014

‘Young writers, if they're meant to be writers, they will write. There's nothing that can stop them. It may kill them. They may not be able to stand the terrible indignities, humiliations, privations, shocks that attend the life of an American writer. They may not. Yet they may have some sense of humor about it and manage to survive.'

Tennessee Williams in Writers at Work

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