Monday, August 06, 2007

John Green: All Writing Is Rewriting...


Author John Green, who won the Michael L. Printz award for his debut novel Looking for Alaska, gave a entertaining speech Sunday morning. He started out by saying he felt like an elephant who has been asked to talk to a big group of elephants on how to be an elephant. So he opted to talk not about how to write, but instead about what writing is. Writing, he says, is as much translation as it is creativity. It's thinking about questions that aren't answerable. He feels books need some degree of ambiguity in order to have truth.

You know that age-old question, how do you get your ideas? Green says wherever you get your ideas, the hard part is writing those ideas down in a form in which people will be excited enough about those ideas to ask you, how do you get your ideas?

He says the truth does not lie in the facts of the story, it lies within the characters in the book. The truth doesn't lie in artifice--there's more to a story than pretty writing. Great books don't happen by accident, there's a measure of intent to them. Green's editor is Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton.

3 comments:

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Great post! Green is spot on in saying what he does, and it's borne out in Looking for Alaska which is a superb and gripping book - with characters who carry you with them, absorb you into them so that their story becomes yours.gall10tt3

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