Content Tagged ‘John Irving’

The power of a metaphor

December 16, 2015 | 8 Comments

Gail Caldwell’s memoir & metaphors

August 6, 2011 | 9 Comments

The use of running metaphors in a piece—all related in some way to indigestion or water or loneliness or roller skates, or with a surrealistic or violent cast—will guide the reader in a particular direction as surely as stock can be herded.—Annie Proulx I’ve been skimming John Irving’s newest novel, Last Night in Twisted River. I started out reading, but it asked more of me than I can give right now. With classes looming, immersed in my own rewriting struggle, …

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The importance of momentum

August 1, 2011 | 8 Comments

What John Irving told an interviewer at Boston University about the most important quality in novels surely applies to memoirs too. If you’re going to write novels, you need to establish momentum. The longer the novel, the more that momentum is essential. A novel must be more compelling, more urgent, to the reader on page 400 than it was on page 40. Two elements give you this necessary momentum. You must be able to develop characters; the characters must grow, …

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John Irving on writing & America

November 9, 2009 | 4 Comments

Novelist John Irving holds forth on Big Think on an array of writing issues in short videos excerpted from a long interview. He discusses his working habits—eight to nine hours a day writing in longhand in lined notebooks, seven days a week—and the deep rifts in America that trouble him. He talks about using post-it notes, the long process of revision, achieving syntactical unity throughout a long work, and the glory of the long, lavishly detailed, plotted, visual nineteenth-century novels …

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