Monday, 15 April 2013

Extracts from Paris Review interview with Anne Proulx by Christopher Cox.Read full interview.Wonderful article

Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 199,
Annie Proulx by Christopher Cox
In a rough way the short story writer is to the novelist as a cabinetmaker is to a house carpenter. Although I said that the short story is a superior literary form, there are plenty of exceptions of great novels that could only be novels. All the same, the short story deserves more honor and attention than it gets. It can be a powerful reading experience. One can go back to a good one over and over and always learn something new about technique.

Short stories are often very difficult and demanding, drawing on deep knowledge of human nature and the particulars of pivotal events. Every single word counts heavily. The punctuation is critical. Finding the right words and making honorable sentences takes time. The general reading public has no idea of what goes into a short story because it is literally short and can give the impression that the writer sat down and rattled the thing out in an hour or two.

 To me architecture in a story is very important.
I’ve always felt very sorry for writers who don’t read anything because they’re afraid of hurting their style. I know quite a few of them. Many writers are extremely poor readers.

You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different worlds on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write. I read omnivorously—technical manuals, history, all sorts of things. It’s a relief to get away from your own stuff.
A lot of the work I do is taking the bare sentence that says what you sort of want to say—which is where a lot of writers stop—and making it into an arching kind of thing that has both strength and beauty. And that is where the sweat comes in. That can take a long time and many revisions. A single sentence, particularly a long, involved one, can carry a story forward. I put a lot of time into them. Carefully constructed sentences cast a tint of indefinable substance over a story. 
The hard works pays off.
There is difficulty involved in going from the basic sentence that’s headed in the right direction to making a fine sentence. But it’s a joyous task. It’s hard, but it’s joyous. Being raised rural, I think work is its own satisfaction. It’s not seen as onerous, or a dreadful fate. It’s like building a mill or a bridge or sewing a fine garment or chopping wood—there’s a pleasure in constructing something that really works.

No comments:

Post a Comment