Deborah Treisman, the magazine’s fiction editor, on her experience working with Nobel laureate Alice Munro: http://nyr.kr/16zTiFm
“One has the sense that she feels her way through her narratives, rather than thinking them through, that any plan she has is an intuitive or instinctive one, one that responds to her characters as they respond to whatever she throws at them.”
Photograph by Paul Hawthorne/AP
I’ve always said there are – to oversimplify it – two kinds of writers. There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener. In my Hollywood years when everything does work on outlines, I had to put on my architect’s clothes and pretend to be an architect. But my natural inclinations, the way I work, is to give my characters the head and to follow them.
That being said, I do know where I’m going. I do have the broad outlines of the story worked out in my head, but that’s not to say I know all the small details and every twist and turn in the road that will get me there.”