Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Anne Enright,Booker Prize Winner, ten rules for writing

Anne Enright
Extract  from an interview by Sean O Hagan -read the full article  in The Guardian/The Observer

I am interested in creating female characters who are no better or worse than they should be, who are, in fact, just themselves. I don't want to invest them with some idea of the goodness or the wickedness of female nature, but I am drawn, as most writers are, to flawed female characters – flawed as opposed to bad."

Enright grew up in Dublin "on the border between Terenure and Templeogue", the youngest of a family of five, all of whom, she says, "were brainy and did well at exams". She was the youngest and the lone creative in a family of successful professionals, gaining an international scholarship that took her to "a funny school in Canada" for two years in her teens. "When I came back," she says, "Ireland did not make so much sense." You could say she has been trying to make sense of it through her writing ever since.

"The thing is, though, I love doing voices. And I love the characters not knowing everything and the reader knowing more than them. There's more mischief in that and more room for seriousness, too."

Does she consider herself an Irish writer? "No, I was always on the side. Like a salad."'
"I guess I'm engaged with the tradition even insofar as being against it. The periphery has always been the more interesting place for me. I didn't quite fit and that suited me. I never wanted to be mainstream as a writer, but look at what's happened."

Anne Enright
Ten rules for writing
1 The first 12 years are the worst.
2 The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.
3 Only bad writers think that their work is really good.
4 Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.
5 Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn't matter how "real" your story is, or how "made up": what matters is its necessity.
6 Try to be accurate about stuff.
7 Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.
8 You can also do all that with whiskey.
9 Have fun.
10 Remember, if you sit at your desk for 15 or 20 years, every day, not ­counting weekends, it changes you. It just does. It may not improve your temper, but it fixes something else. It makes you more free.

1 comment:

  1. Love the ten rules for writing. You have a very interesting site. Would love you to drop in and 'follow' my blog at I posted a beautiful Christmas story there. I will be doing a 'follow' on your blog.