I start with an image, then I go from the image toward exploring the situation. Then I write a scene, and from the scene I find the character, from the character I find the larger plot. It's like deductive reasoning - I start with the smaller stuff and work backward.
Fiction is a particular kind of rhetoric, a way of thinking that I think can be useful in your life. It asks you to image the world through someone else's eyes, and it allows you to try to empathize with situations that you haven't actually experienced.
I'm certainly very influenced by what you would call 'contemporary headline horror,' stuff that is true crime or for one reason or another catches our attention in the media, those strange cases that we end up obsessing about. I'm always influenced by weird anecdotes and news.
It's not like it ruined my life, I was going to say, but then I didn't. Because it occurred to me that maybe it had ruined my life, in a kind of quiet way--a little lie, probably not so vital, insidiously separating me from everyone I loved.
That's how I work, whether with stories or novels - they start with an image that comes to me in a daydream, and a lot of times I'm walking around with these pictures in my head for awhile before I start writing.
I can't understand how people can settle for having just one life. I remember we were in English class and we were talking about that poem by - that one guy. David Frost. 'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood-' You know this poem, right? 'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could, to where it bent in the undergrowth-" "I loved that poem. But I remember thinking to myself: Why? How come you can't travel both? That... Read more »
When I was younger I was attracted to people who had that kind of artifice - people who were incredibly polished and had a complex persona that always seemed to be turned on. I was really interested in these kinds of people because I felt so unformed...
What if you believed that everything in life was like a prize? What if you thought of the world as a big random drawing, and you were always winning things, the world offering them up with a big grin, like an emcee's: Here you go, Hollis. Here is a motorcycle. Here is a little boy who loves you. Here is a weird experience, here is something bad that you should mull over because it will make you a better person. What if you could think that life was this free vacation you'd won, and you won just because you happened... Read more »